Business

Cheaper gas expected for Thanksgiving

According to new survey results from the auto club, the number of New Englander planning to take a trip this holiday will be 3.9 percent higher than last year.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/File

According to new survey results from the auto club, the number of New Englander planning to take a trip this holiday will be 3.9 percent higher than last year.

Gas prices in Massachusetts dropped 6 cents to $2.87 a gallon last week, good news for the 2 million New England residents planning to travel this Thanksgiving, according to AAA.

According to new survey results from the auto club, the number of New Englander planning to take a trip this holiday will be 3.9 percent higher than last year. They’re also facing the lowest gas prices in four years, allowing them to stretch their travel money further.

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“Holiday joy has come early this year,” said Lloyd Albert, a spokesman for AAA of Southern New England. “Lower prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to carve out more money from household budgets for travel this Thanksgiving,”

AAA’s newly released holiday travel data predicts that more than 46 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for the holiday — designated as Wednesday through Sunday. The average travelers will journey more than 500 miles roundtrip, and most will travel by car. That figure is the highest since 2007.

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Massachusetts travellers will be able to breathe easy at the pump, too. A gallon of regular, unleaded, self-serve gasoline is 48 cents cheaper than it was at the same time last year, according to AAA. At $2.64 a gallon, Sal’s in Holbrook is selling the cheapest gas in Massachusetts, according to GasBuddy.com.

Local gas prices

Weekly gas prices in Massachusetts, for regular, unleaded, self-serve gasoline.

DATA: AAA Northeast

Globe Staff

Prices are also low for those travelling out of state, too. Nationally, the average price of a gallon of gas was $2.81, or six cents cheaper than in Massachusetts.

Gasoline prices are strongly tied to the price of crude oil, which has dropped 30 percent since June amid high production in the United States and sluggish demand in China and Europe. Since May, gas prices recorded by AAA have dropped 90 cents per gallon.

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Although AAA did not have state-by-state data for its holiday travel statistics, the group said travelers budget an average of $573 — primarily travel, shopping, and food — for the Thanksgiving period.

AAA said the increased holiday travel can be tied to growing consumer confidence over the state of the economy. Gas prices rarely prompt people to travel or stay home, but they affect how families budget between travel, shopping and other leisure activities.

Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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