Demand is supposed to push gasoline prices higher as a holiday season approaches. The opposite is true this Thanksgiving week, and there is no ready explanation.
The AAA Fuel Gauge shows the price for a gallon of regular averaged $3.34 yesterday, based on a national average. A week earlier, the number was $3.411.
Oil prices have risen during the past two months. Normally, gas prices move higher when that happens. However, the cost of oil prices has to pass through refiners to retailers, which can take weeks. Any impact from $95 crude may not appear before Christmas. But that shouldn't cause a dip in prices.
Most estimates of car travel for the Thanksgiving weekend indicate that miles driven in the U.S. will increase 3 percent to 5 percent. That level of demand should be another reason for station owners to take an opportunity to get more per gallon. That has not happened. Again, there is no ready reason.
However, drivers will not get off lightly everywhere this holiday season. In some places, prices are still above $3.48 or more for a gallon of regular — the highest tier of national prices in the AAA study.
Many people will pay this higher price because the most expensive gas is concentrated in California, New York and a few other areas. Those two states are the largest by population. Between them, they are home to 20 percent of U.S. citizens.
But the bottom line remains: gas prices have dropped the week of Thanksgiving, compared to those the last few weeks, and there is really no explanation for this.
(Douglas A. McIntyre--24/7 Wall St./The Blaze)