Gas prices a turkey for Thanksgiving travelers, but they’re inching downward

Analyst expects another 5 to 15 cent drop in the weeks ahead

SAN ANTONIO – As families fill up their gas tanks, they’re paying more for Thanksgiving road trips to grandma’s house than they have in eight years.

“The gas is higher than a kite,” said Rudy Saenz.

He’s retired and on a fixed income, so paying close to $3 a gallon for gas is gobbling up his wallet.

“The gas, that’s gold I put in there,” he said.

The average price of a gallon of gas locally was $2.82 Tuesday morning. That’s 72% higher than it was one year ago when many people stayed home for their holiday feasts.

It now costs about $45 to fill up the average SUV. For that amount, you could buy a 20-pound turkey and all the fixings to feed a family of eight.

Prices at the pump have actually dropped about five cents in the past week. That’s partly due to COVID-19 concerns in Europe and in anticipation of President Joe Biden’s announcement that the U.S. is tapping into Strategic Petroleum Reserve to give consumers relief.

Patrick DeHaan, chief oil analyst at Gas Buddy, sees the relief as “underwhelming.”

“I think we will continue to see prices inch down,” he said. “Across San Antonio, we could see averages fall to $2.75 or $2.65 a gallon in the weeks ahead.”

DeHaan said 18 million of the 50 million barrels of crude oil fom the reserve had already been earmarked for release in the years ahead, and the outcome is really more of an “accounting shift to make is sound better than it really looks.”

If OPEC responds by cutting production, he said the net result could be consumers are worse off in the long run.

About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.