Gas prices up for Thanksgiving

Holiday weekend drivers should expect to spend a little more to get to grandma's -- or to the Black Friday sales -- this year.

By Giselle Smith Nov 22, 2011 3:53PM

If you're one of the anticipated 38.2 million Americans who are driving to their destination for the holiday weekend, make sure you budget for a little extra cash this year. Gas prices are up almost 50 cents per gallon from Thanksgiving 2010.

The good news is that gas prices overall are down from last month at this time, however. The national average is $3.34 per gallon, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report, down 12 cents from a month ago. 

Approximately 42.5 million Americans are expected to travel between Nov. 23 and Nov. 27, with 90% of them making journeys of 50 miles or more by automobile, according to AAA. The number of expected travelers is up 4% from last year, when only 40.9 million people traveled over the holiday weekend.

This year's projection is for the largest number of travelers since 2007, when 50.6 million Americans traveled over the Thanksgiving weekend. The recession caused travelers to drop to 37.8 million in 2008.

Perhaps to combat the increased gas prices, travelers are expected to travel shorter distances this year, according to a survey of traveler intentions (.pdf file) conducted by IHS Global Insight with AAA. The average distance Americans expect to travel during the 2011 Thanksgiving weekend is 706 miles, down 13.5 % from 2010's 816 miles.

The survey also projected travelers' expected expenditures, which are $554, up 12% from last year's $495.

Airfares, hotel rates are also up

The 10 percent of holiday travelers who are going over the hills and through the woods by air will also pay more this year. "The average round-trip airfare for travel Wednesday through Sunday to the 10 most popular destinations in the United States has jumped 11% to $373 compared with the same period last year, according to an analysis by Orbitz Worldwide Inc.," the LA Times reported Monday.

And average hotel room rates have increased in the past year as well, according to AAA, which reported an anticipated 6% increase for rooms at AAA Three Diamond or mid-range lodgings: $145 per night, as compared to $136 last year.

Gas prices, by state

Most expensive states for holiday driving are Alaska and Hawaii, where average gas prices are still more than $4 for a gallon of unleaded. The cheapest state? Missouri, where a gallon of unleaded is $3.06 on average. Post continues below.

Here's a state-by-state breakdown of average prices for regular unleaded, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report:
















District of Columbia








































North Carolina


North Dakota






New Hampshire


New Jersey


New Mexico


New York










Rhode Island


South Carolina


South Dakota














West Virginia







Do gas prices impact your decision to drive over the holiday weekend? And will you be driving this year?

More on MSN Money:


Nov 22, 2011 4:30PM
Yesterdays news release stated gas prices will be down for the holidays. Was that to make us plan and comment to events around Thanksgiving just to get us to spend money we don't have?
Nov 22, 2011 6:31PM

Gas prices are going to go up for the holidays?  I thought gas prices followed the price of a barrel of oil.


But, we all know that is just a bunch of BS!!


Oh, let's take advantage of the fact that people will be driving more and rip them off a little more!!

Gas Prices:  The Scam of The Century!!



Nov 22, 2011 6:46PM

rapcrap-Gas is higher in Canada to pay for your socialized medicine programs that are so effective that Canadians that can afford it come over here to get medical  help.


Stop and think a moment everyone.  When oil was $140 a barrel gas was $4.00 a gallon average which was 2.85% of the cost.  With Oil at $95 a barrel gas is around $3.35 a gallon which is 3.52% of the cost.  Based on 2008 percent gas should be $2.66 a gallon.


What we are experiencing is the boiled frog analogy- If you throw a frog in boiling water ($4.00 gas) he will jump out kicking, but if you put the frog in room temperature water (last years prices $2.69) and gradually heat to boiling the frog will cook before he realizes it ( next years prices $4.50-$5.00).


We have no energy policy, no leadership and no oversight.  The middle class is becoming just a pot of boiled frogs to the government elite.


Nov 22, 2011 5:50PM
Fosz - Yesterday's article was discussing the fact that gas prices are down from recent weeks/months.  The article today is saying that gas prices are up from the same time LAST YEAR.  Two different things. 
Nov 22, 2011 5:32PM
Gas prices going up for the holidays! That's a surprise?
Nov 23, 2011 12:29PM
If Congress worked for us, the people, then someone would be talking about price fixing by big oil companies.  Why do the gas stations all go up and down at the same time?
Nov 22, 2011 6:29PM
It's one of those things where they could raise gas prices every year around this time and we would still travel. On the flip side, I haven't filled my gas tank in a while. I go to work, bank, grocery and gamestore.  :)
Nov 22, 2011 5:07PM
gas prices in US are cheap,,,,,,come to Canada its around 6.00 a gal here
Nov 22, 2011 7:35PM

Tired of the whining from Canadians and others internationals.

My family would save $4000 a year if we had gas prices and uniform health care of UK, but we don't have the transportation infrastructure of UK and our economy will fail with gas prices much higher. Not due to the cost to drive, but to the ripple effect it has on food and other consumables.


Nov 22, 2011 6:54PM
not quite sure where they are getting their figures from, price of gas has dropped about 15 cents here in new jersey in the last 2 weeks. Middlesex/Monmouth county area is around $3.05/gallon.
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