Roads will be the busiest in years, but gas prices are near the lowest they've been in almost a decade. a U.S. government report finds. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. travelers leaving early on Wednesday to get a head start on the holiday will see some of the lowest gas prices in nearly a decade, the government said.
U.S. market activity is light and the trading week is shortened because of the long Thanksgiving holiday. Motor club AAA expects nearly 50 million people will be traveling 50 miles or more this holiday, the most since 2007. Of those, almost 90 percent will drive.
AAA reports a national average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at $2.13 for Wednesday, down just a fraction from one week ago. Gas prices are higher than the $2.07 average for this time last year, but are the second lowest for the Thanksgiving holiday since 2008, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported.
According to AAA, prices range from the high point of $2.68 for the state average in California to a low of $1.88 per gallon for the state average in Oklahoma.
EIA notes that gasoline prices are linked closely to crude oil prices, which have been volatile in recent trading sessions because of the anticipation building over what happens next for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
OPEC members, along with Russia, are trying to formalize a production proposal aimed at pulling the market back toward balance. OPEC and Russian crude oil production are already at or near record levels and coordinating policy around the interests of more than a dozen players may prove difficult.
If members agree on a concrete proposal next week, crude oil prices would likely move higher and that could potentially trickle down to consumers. Regardless of the outcome, EIA said crude oil markets remain oversupplied.
"Total petroleum and other liquids production continues to outpace consumption globally, resulting in growing inventories and downward pressure on prices," its report read.