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Jenifer Moore
Public Affairs Specialist, OH
O: (513) 762-3105 ext. (5503105)
C: (513) 401-4911
jmoore1@aaa-alliedgroup.com

CINCINNATI, Oh.—(November 20, 2017) AAA forecasts more than 2 million Ohioans will travel for Thanksgiving representing a 3.5 percent increase over 2016 with the majority traveling on the road. This increase is despite prices at the pump averaging more than 40 cents higher than last Thanksgiving for regular gas. The current average price for regular gas in Ohio is $2.54, up 20 cents in a month and up 46 cents on the year. Average gas prices in Indiana and Kentucky are also up more than 30 cents compared to this time last year. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26.

“There will be more Ohioans on the roads this year primarily because the economy is strong,” says Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “Although travelers are thankful for the time off to spend with their loved ones, they are not so thankful for the higher gas prices.”

Average Gas Prices in Tristate Area

Source:  http://gasprices.aaa.com/

 

Today

Last Year

Price Change

Ohio

$2.54

$2.08

+46 cents

Indiana

$2.64

$2.06

+58 cents

Kentucky

$2.42

$2.05

+37 cents

 

Gas prices in the region are volatile – increasing, stabilizing and decreasing - throughout the Great Lakes and Central states. On Thursday, November 16, the Keystone pipeline was shut down due to a spill at a section of the pipeline in Marshall County, South Dakota. Over the weekend, TransCanada said that it does not yet have a potential restart date for the pipeline, which runs from Hardisty, Alberta, to Cushing, Oklahoma, and on to Wood River/Patoka, Illinois. While the pipeline is shut down, crude oil deliveries to some Midwestern refineries that draw from the pipeline may be reduced. In addition, crude inventory levels at Cushing, Oklahoma, may drop due to the delivery disruption.

Compared to one year ago, five states in the region are paying 50 cents more for a gallon of gasoline: Illinois (+59 cents), Indiana (+58 cents), Minnesota (+55 cents), Wisconsin (+54 cents) and Michigan (+51 cents). Heavy refinery maintenance this fall is one the factors that has contributed to the year-over-year hefty price increase.

After nearly two months of straight declines, regional gasoline inventory had an impressive 1.3 million bbl build. Overall, inventory stands 2.5 million bbl below levels this time last year. However, ExxonMobil's Joliet refinery in Illinois is resuming operations following planned maintenance, which can help to alleviate the differential.

 “Saving money at the pump is key this Thanksgiving holiday season,” added Moore. “AAA encourages travelers to visit gasprices.aaa.com to determine how much they will pay for gas not only in their departure city, but their destination city as well.

 

National Gas Prices

After holding steady for nine days, the national gas price average is slowly declining at the start of the Thanksgiving week. At $2.54, today’s national gas price average is two cents less than one week ago and 40 cents more than a year ago. However, the more expensive year-over-year pump price is not stopping Americans from hitting the road for holiday travel.

Motorists can find gas for $2.50 or less at 55 percent of gas stations in the country.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten states with the largest yearly increases:  Alaska (+63 cents), Illinois (+59 cents), Indiana (+58 cents), Minnesota (+55 cents), Wisconsin (+54 cents), California (+52 cents), Michigan (+51 cents), Kansas (+49 cents), Iowa (+47 cents) and Colorado (+47 cents).

     

  • The nation’s top ten states with the least expensive gas prices: Alabama ($2.25), Mississippi ($2.26), South Carolina ($2.27), Texas ($2.28), Arkansas ($2.29), Oklahoma ($2.31), Virginia ($2.31), Tennessee ($2.31), Louisiana ($2.33) and Missouri ($2.35).

 

Cheap Flights = More Air Travelers

While road travelers will experience a slight pinch in their wallets, air travelers have a lot to be thankful for as reduced fares are encouraging more to fly to their Thanksgiving destinations. The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at five percent, with 3.95 million travelers, nationally. Nearly 165,000 Ohioans will take to the friendly skies, representing a 6.1% increase over last year.

“Consumers are paying the cheapest average airfare since 2013,” continues Moore. “However, they should expect to spend any ‘flight savings’ on car rentals which are averaging 34 percent more than last year due to increase demand and the cost of new vehicles added in fleets.”

Traffic Woes: Heavy Traffic in Early Evenings

Whether driving or flying to Thanksgiving celebrations this year, AAA is warning travelers to be prepared for traffic. More travelers on the road may equal more traffic in destination cities and motorists should be prepared.  This year, AAA partnered with INRIX, a global transportation analytics company to study historical and recent travel trends for the holiday week. Results predict travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the optimal trip. In addition, drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion during the early evening – as early as Tuesday of Thanksgiving week - as commuters mix with holiday travelers.  At its peak, drivers on Chicago’s interstates, for example, could see a delay of nearly 300 percent over the optimal trip.

“Thanksgiving has historically been one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year we could see record-level travel delays,” says Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”

 

Worst Time to Travel

Destination Metro Area

Worst Day

for Travel

Worst Time

for Travel

Delay Multiplier

Chicago, IL

Tuesday

5:00 - 6:00 PM

3x

San Francisco, CA

Tuesday

4:00 - 5:45 PM

2.5X

Los Angeles, CA

Tuesday

3:15 - 6:00 PM

2.5x

Boston, MA

Tuesday

5:15 - 7:15 PM

2.5x

New York, NY

Tuesday

5:30 - 6:30 PM

2x

Washington, DC

Tuesday

4:45 - 6:00 PM

2x

Seattle, WA

Tuesday

3:45 - 5:30 PM

2x

Atlanta, GA

Wednesday

3:00 - 5:15 PM

2x

Houston, TX

Wednesday

5:45 - 7:00 PM

1x

Detroit, MI

Tuesday

3:00 - 5:30 PM

1x

 

AAA Tips for Road Travelers:

  • Get A Preventative Maintenance Check: Go to a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility or a trusted mechanic and have your vehicle battery, tires and fluids checked prior to hitting the road. AAA offers free preventative maintenance checks at all AAA Bob Sumerel Tire and Auto locations. Appointments are not required and you do not have to be a member.
  • Map Your Route: Travel projections in high traffic areas can mean more time on the road and possibly delays in planned arrival time. Download AAA’s mobile app or visit your local store for TripTiks to determine the best and safest route drive.
  • Fill Up: Temperatures may be colder in destination cities. Keep your gas tank at least half fullto allow for additional idling time in case you encounter lengthy delays caused by highway traffic congestion or crashes. Use AAA’s mobile app to find the cheapest gas prices in your departure and destination cities.
  • Have an Emergency Kit: Pack an emergency kit containing a snow shovel, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, warning devices, fully charged cell phone, non-perishable snacks, bottled water and extra warm clothing for everyone riding in the vehicle.
  • Safety First: Every passenger in the vehicle should be wearing a seatbelt or properly restrained in a car or booster seat, including pets. Never drive if you are feeling drowsy and be alert for impaired drivers.
  • Secure the Turkey: Keeping a food container loose in a vehicle is dangerous and can cause additional injury in the event of a crash. Make sure all casserole dishes come with a cover and place it in a cooler or towel-lined laundry basket. Then secure the laundry basket in the truck or cargo area with bungee cords.

 

AAA Tips for Air Travelers:

  • Weather Alerts: Monitor weather conditions regularly, at your departure city, cities where connections occur and destination city.
  • Flight Status Check: Check your flight status before leaving for the airport. Consider signing up for text or mobile app alerts from your airline for the latest flight information.
  • Review TSA Procedures: Visit www.tsa.gov to review new screening procedures. TSA now requires all electronics larger than a cell phone to be removed from carry-on bags and placed in a separate bin. 
  • Pack Extra Clothes in Carry On Bag: When flying, pack essentials and any medication in your carry-on bag in case travel schedules change.
  • Protect Your Investment: Consider purchasing travel insurance before a trip to protect you in the event of severe inclement weather.

About the AAA travel forecast:
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2017 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast is available
here.

###

 

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit www.AAA.com.

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