The price of traveling during the Thanksgiving Holidays surged during the past week, with the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas rising more than 7¢ per gallon, according to the latest weekly gas price survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The price of fuel had been decling rapidly during most of October, but the increase in demand for petroleum products, in advance of the holiday, has helped contribute to rising prices. The current U.S. average is back up to $3.29 per gallon.
The week-over-week gains in gas prices did not affect the West Coast or California, where prices continued to drop during the past week. In fact, the average price of gas in California actually slipped behind New York state during the most recent survey, with drivers in the Golden State paying about $3.55 per gallon and New Yorkers paying an average of $3.57. Price declines in the Rocky Mountain region were the greatest, however, with an average 4¢ per gallon decline in fuel costs at the pump. The Rocky Mountain region has the second-lowest gas prices in the U.S., being only one cent higher in cost than the average price across the Gulf Coast.
City by city, drivers in Miami fared worse than nearly everywhere else during the past week, with gas prices surging a whopping 15¢ per gallon in South Florida, and prices in the Sunshine state up an astonishing 19¢ per gallon. In Texas, the only other state where gas prices surge so much, the price drivers are paying at the pump lurched upward by an average of 16¢. Drivers in Houston are paying about 17¢ per gallon more for gas, the only major city where prices jumped more than Miami.
The cost of diesel fuel finally reversed or halted its downward trend, as prices in nearly all regions increased by a penny or more during the past week. On average, truckers and diesel car drivers paied about 2¢ more per gallon during the past week, while drivers in the Midwest ended up paying as much as 4¢ more. Prices in California and the broader West Coast paid the same, with the average prices at the same levels as last week.
Year over year, most of us are paying less than we were at Thanksgiving time in 2012. However, that trend does not hold for Florida and Texas, the fourth and second largest states in the U.S., respectively, by population.
Regardless of the past two weeks’ trends of rising fuel costs, the EIA has not adjusted its December price forecast or its 2014 price projections. Fuel costs are expected to continue their downward slide through December and for most of 2014, with moderate price increases expected during peak travel times.