Gas prices begin decline ahead of heavy holiday travel

Reporter: Michael Hudak Writer: Joey Pellegrino
A man refueling his car. Credit: WINK News

Gas prices continue to fluctuate in Southwest Florida as thousands of people hit the road for holiday travel, and with COVID-19 cases up more than 250% in Florida this week, many people are choosing to drive rather than fly this Christmas season.

AAA anticipates Thursday will see the highest volume of travel in the U.S. in two years, and there is good news for those people driving to their destinations: Gas prices are down, sliding by a little more than three cents over the past week and likely to keep falling. The national average is down about 11.1 cents in the past month, though they are still up from this time in 2020. While that has to do with fewer people traveling last year because of the pandemic, AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins says it isn’t that simple.

“It is going to cost you about a dollar a gallon more to fill up than last Christmas, but prices have been declining since Thanksgiving,” Jenkins said. “That is largely due to big drops in the price of oil. We saw them again earlier this week, which means there is a good chance we see gas prices continue to decline for the rest of this year.”

Experts also say surging COVID-19 cases could take a toll on travel demand, possibly contributing to a further drop in gas prices.

“This travel forecast was developed before this omicron variant was detected, so we could see fewer numbers than anticipated,” Jenkins said. “But, even still, because of the vaccine, we do anticipate a very strong rebound compared to last year.”

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.