Gas prices across the United States have declined in all 50 states ahead of the busy Thanksgiving holiday next week, with prices in Oregon down to their lowest levels since May, no doubt bringing relief to Americans who plan to hit the roads.
Thanks to lower crude oil prices putting downward pressure on gas prices, the national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline has fallen to its lowest price since February this week to $3.35, according to AAA, previously known as the American Automobile Association.
States with the lowest average price for a gallon of regular unleaded are Texas ($2.790), Mississippi ($2.840), Georgia ($2.841), Louisiana ($2.911), and Oklahoma ($2.913).
Those with the highest are California ($5.059), Hawaii ($4.737), Washington ($4.496), Nevada ($4.380), and Oregon ($4.190), although prices in California are still down from $5.638 a month ago and $5.138 last week, AAA said.
Meanwhile, the average price in Oregon has dropped to its lowest price since May to $4.19 and in 12 Oregon counties, average gas prices have dropped below $4 a gallon.
According to AAA, 12 Oregon counties have averages below $4 a gallon: Benton ($3.86), Gilliam ($3.99), Hood River ($3.94), Jefferson ($3.85), Lane ($3.93), Lincoln ($3.72), Linn ($3.90), Marion ($3.93), Morrow ($3.90), Polk ($3.98), Umatilla ($3.91), and Wasco ($3.99).
The declines come as AAA forecasts 55.4 million Americans—or roughly 16.5 percent of the population—will take to the roads and travel 50 miles or more from home for the Thanksgiving holiday, marking a 2.3 percent increase from 2022.
Global Conflicts Could Push Prices HigherIn Oregon, roughly 671,000 travelers will hit the roads, AAA said.
This year is also expected to be the third-busiest for Thanksgiving travel since AAA started tracking in 2000, behind 2005 and 2019.
"Crude oil prices had been parked above $80 a barrel for several weeks, but are now hovering in the mid-$70s. Since crude oil is the main ingredient in gasoline, cheaper crude prices usually lead to falling gas prices," said Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.
The decline in gas prices is typical during the fall months—in part owing to a drop in demand for gasoline compared to the summer months and a switch to less expensive winter-blend gas.
However, AAA cautioned that global events such as Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the Israel–Hamas conflict could still send oil prices higher, noting that crude oil prices have been particularly volatile since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas last month.
Saudi, Russia Extend CutsOil prices surged to nearly $90 per barrel in September when Saudi Arabia and Russia shocked the market by extending their aggressive supply reductions of 1 million barrels a day and 300,000 a day, respectively, through the end of the year, despite an optimistic OPEC+ demand forecast.
The markets were further riled by major flooding in Libya, which produces about 1 million barrels of oil per day and is one of the key suppliers to Europe, which is currently facing energy shortages owing to sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
In October, oil prices held near $90 a barrel again following terrorist group Hamas's deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7, which prompted fears the conflict could escalate across the wider Middle East, impacting crude production in other oil-producing nations in the region.
Still, crude oil prices fell into the $70s last week and have remained there since, albeit rising slightly to the upper-$70s this week, trading around $79 on Monday compared to $77 a week ago and $86 a year ago.
According to GasBuddy, drivers across the United States who plan to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday this year will save over half a billion dollars from Wednesday through Sunday compared to what they spent during Thanksgiving last year.
"However, with the big drop in price, motorists are not seeing all stations lower prices as quickly and should remember to check their phone for the lowest prices before filling up," GasBuddy said.