287,000 Idahoans will travel this Thanksgiving amid falling pump prices

BOISE – (November 20, 2018) – As more than 54 million travelers set out in search of turkey and all the trimmings this Thanksgiving, they’ll have another reason to be thankful – as Old Man Winter begins to dial down the thermostat, gas prices throughout the country are following suit.

Despite AAA’s projections of an additional 2.5 million travelers and the most overall since 2005, stable fuel inventories and falling crude oil prices are applying downward pressure on pump prices. But the savings could be short-lived – members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their partners, including Russia, have announced plans to reduce the global oil supply by approximately one million barrels per day in order to drive prices higher.

“AAA will be keeping a close eye on the international oil market, but even a temporary discount at the pump is a welcome break from the higher prices we’ve been paying,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “With consumer confidence at an 18-year high, many people were prepared to pay more to visit family and friends, so this recent trend is just icing on the cake.”

Today, the U.S. average gas price for regular unleaded is $2.61, a whopping 24 cents cheaper than a month ago and just eight cents more than a year ago. In the Gem State, the average price is $3.01, which is eleven cents less than a month ago and 35 cents more than a year ago.  In 14 Idaho counties, drivers are already paying an average of $3 per gallon or less.  More could follow.

Here’s a seven-year retrospective on Thanksgiving gas prices:

AAA says that 2.3 million additional motorists will head to the highways for turkey time, bringing the total to 48.5 million. Nearly 89 percent of holiday travelers will go by car this year.  Air travel leads the way in percentage growth with a 5.4 percent increase (for a total of 4.2 million passengers), while other modes of travel (bus, cruise, train) were up slightly at 1.4 percent.

Travel wisely

“Everyone wants to make the most of their Thanksgiving holiday, but some travelers take unnecessary risks to do it,” Conde said. “For example, motorists who decide to start a long road trip late in the evening or very early in the morning could fall prey to the effects of drowsy driving.  They could also encounter freezing conditions on the roads that they weren’t expecting.”

AAA advises drivers to plan ahead – check the weather and road conditions along your route before taking off, bring plenty of warm clothing, snacks, and water, take a basic tool kit, and bring a first-aid kit, along with a flashlight and extra batteries. Take along tire chains as needed.  Share your travel plans with loved ones who can send help if you’re delayed, and if possible, avoid driving in bad weather altogether – even if you’re ready for the road, other drivers around you may not be as well prepared.

“It’s still not too late to check your battery, engine, and tires for signs of trouble before you go,” Conde said. “We stand ready to help if you experience a vehicle breakdown, but when it comes to safety, it pays to be proactive.”

AAA projects that airports will be busier this year, with more travelers taking to the skies with just a modest increase in seat capacity. To combat stress and longer lines, arrive early and take advantage of the amenities offered at the airport.

“Try to stay upbeat if you face any adversity,” Conde said. “Just tell yourself that if you encounter any issues, you’ll have a great story to share around the table this Thanksgiving.”