Gas prices dive as Southern Californians projected to hit the road for Thanksgiving in record number
Thousands of Californians are expecting to hit the road to Thanksgiving this week, in the largest wave of driving since 2001. Most will use the holiday weekend to take in a family-friendly vacation.
While the price of gas has plummeted by about one-third since this summer’s $4 to $5 a gallon, Californians driving between now and Thanksgiving are projected to use more than three gallons for every mile they travel. That’s a huge increase from the last time gas prices hovered around $4 during the same week in October 1998, when people drove 9,000 miles to see family and friends.
California drivers are facing a triple whammy that’s made the state “America’s Gas-Thief of the Year,” according to the state’s most recent survey.
“Everybody’s driving more and more in spite of the prices,” says Jim Campbell, a consultant at GasBuddy.com. “They’re all doing the same thing: filling up their trunk, then pulling into the gas station and filling up their car, then getting back on the road.”
Campbell’s GasBuddy has compiled the data on Californians who are driving more since the price of gas began falling this summer.
In August, about 10,700 Californians were driving more than 3.5 gallons for every mile they traveled. That’s up about 50% from the 9,000 miles California drivers drive to see friends and family in October 1998. More than 75% of those people were using gas when their car was full.
The state’s gas tax has gone up $28 per month the same month, to fund the state’s $9 billion-a-year road and transportation projects.
The biggest gas savings? Californians are driving fewer miles. In August, they spent more than 30 million fewer miles than they did in August 1998 to travel to work, school, shopping, medical appointments, entertainment and family celebrations.
Nearly one-third of California drivers will use 3.5 gallons more to travel between now and Oct. 20