Record Thanksgiving gas prices don’t deter drivers

Pumping gas
Pumping gas
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 5:27 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2022 at 10:38 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - AAA released its Thanksgiving travel forecast Tuesday: 54.6 million Americans are projected to hit the roads or the skies, nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels.

Drivers are still getting sticker shock when they see the prices at gas stations, but folks still plan to travel despite the prices at the pump.

AAA says the average price per gallon in Wisconsin right now is $3.57 for regular unleaded. That’s 46 cents more than it was last Thanksgiving, $3.11. Prices have been on the decline, but a lot of cars on the road would drive up demand and bring down supply.

“It will probably be among, if not the highest, price that consumers have ever paid for gas going into a Thanksgiving travel weekend,” Nick Jarmusz with AAA said.

However, despite the potentially hefty price tag to fill up your tank, Jarmusz says 1.1 million Wisconsinites are going to travel Thanksgiving weekend, with 958,000 traveling by car.

He says he’s never seen a strong correlation between gas prices and people’s willingness to travel, and this year it seems people just need to get out, no matter the price.

Calvin Collines from Green Bay told us, “We’re traveling down to Nashville just to get away.” Away from the cold? “Yes, hopefully.”

”I think that damped demand to travel after two years of shutdowns and people avoiding travel is really helping people to overcome that and pushing them to overcome and find a way to make it work in their budget even if that means absorbing higher costs,” Jarmusz said.

“It is what it is. You go where you go, gas prices aside,” Moira McKinney-Steffen from Rhinelander said.

Jarmusz had this advice on the best time to hit the road: ”Usually, traveling on the holiday itself is going to have the lowest travel volumes. Most people do want to get to their destinations early so that they’re not fighting traffic the day of.”

We also talked with Jarmusz about air travel. He said 106,000 Wisconsinites are projected to get airline tickets for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Even though that number is a tenth of the road travelers, and flights are costing 22% more than a year ago, air travel in our state is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels.

People are willing to pay the price to get away for the holiday weekend
Despite record gas prices, more people are expected to drive this holiday