Stable gas prices for Thanksgiving travel

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Associated Press and 13News

Posted on November 19, 2012 at 7:06 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 19 at 9:45 AM

RICHMOND (AP) -- Gas prices are still dropping a bit across Hampton Roads

The price of a gallon of regular gasoline ranges from $3.01 a gallon to $3.45,  a drop of about 4 cents in the last week, according to Gas Buddy, which reports the prices have been stable and lower than the national average.

For Thanksgiving travelers, prices in the region are nearly the same as they were in 2011 but higher elsewhere in the U.S.

"While gasoline prices have dropped in the last month and a half, the national average will still come close to breaking a record-the highest ever national average for Thanksgiving," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan.

When you hit the road, the Virginia Department of Transportation is making it easier to reach your destination.

Most lane closures on major highways will be suspended from noon Nov. 21 until noon Nov. 26. However, long-term construction zones will remain.

The agency says it also has created and posted online maps showing expected periods of heavy traffic on interstates.

Travelers likely will encounter the heaviest congestion on Nov. 25 in the afternoon and evening.

The Virginia-Virginia Tech football game in Blacksburg is expected to create congestion on Interstate 81 on Nov. 24 between Roanoke and Christiansburg.

Travelers can expect airports to be busier and planes to be fuller than ever this Thanksgiving. And fares will be more expensive, experts said.

Airlines for America expects nearly 24 million travelers to fly from Friday, Nov. 16, through Tuesday, Nov. 27. That's up narrowly from a year earlier. Last year's tally was flat from 2010. But traffic on the nation's airlines is still 10 percent below the peak travel years of 2006 and 2007.

For those traveling on the busiest days around Thanksgiving, planes are expected to be close to 90 percent full, the trade group says. That would be a record for the holiday. Sunday, Nov. 25 is projected as the busiest travel day, followed by Wednesday, Nov. 21 and Monday, Nov. 26.

Flights will be packed tighter because there are fewer of them. Airlines have been reducing flights to better match demand, which in turn allows them to raise prices. Domestic ticket prices are up 4 percent from 2011, according to the group.

Cutting flights also allows airlines to save on fuel, often their biggest expense.

Collectively, U.S. airlines' revenue rose 5.6 percent in the first nine months of this year. But fuel costs rose by 6.2 percent, cutting the amount of money earned per passenger. On average, the ten largest U.S. airlines made just 50 cents for every passenger they flew from January through September, Airlines for America said.

 

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