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Gas Prices Dropping And Roads Crowding As Thanksgiving Approaches

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Gas prices are on the decline nationally and in Illinois. That's because of less demand and a greater petroleum supply.

Prices are often dictated by demand, and AAA reports there is significantly less at the moment because it’s past the summer driving season. Spokeswoman Beth Mosher explains.

“Well, we’re out of that summer driving season and so naturally there’s less driving that is happening, even as we head into one of the busiest travel days of the year, which is Thanksgiving,” she said.

There was some concern that new U.S. sanctions on Iran, which took effect Nov. 4, would cause prices to rise. Patrick DeHaan is Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy. He says oil producers took action in October.

“Faced with the prospect of lowered output coming from Iran as a result of those sanctions, OPEC increased production,” he said.

DeHaan says this is one of several reasons why the new sanctions haven't caused a significant market shift.

“President Trump began issuing waivers to countries that buy crude oil from Iran, rendering the sanctions moot, effectively increasing oil supply, and that has driven prices down rather handily,” he said.

OPEC members have raised the possibility of cutting back on production in advance of their December meeting in Vienna, Austria.

In advance of the Thanksgiving travel rush, Mosher recommends people start their trips early.

"If you can alter your times getting home just a little bit Wednesday afternoon, even Tuesday afternoon, just know that the roads are going to be busy," she said. "Buckle up everyone on the roadways next week and always, but just know that there’s going to be a lot of people on the roads with you. Pack your patience with you."

DeHaan says driving at a consistent speed, close to the speed limit, can improve gas mileage. He also says gas prices may very greatly between service stations, and recommends drivers shop around for a good deal.