Survey: Many staying home for Thanksgiving, despite low gas prices

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The average gas price is predicted to be $2.17 per gallon, but people are still staying home this year.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting people’s travel plans, many are choosing to stay home instead of hitting the road this year, one survey shows. 

According to GasBuddy’s 2020 Annual Thanksgiving Travel Survey, only 35% of Americans plan to drive somewhere for the holiday this year, even though gas prices are projected to be the lowest since 2016. 

In 2019, 65% of those surveyed said they were driving somewhere for Thanksgiving. 

GasBuddy says the national average gas price is projected to be $2.17 per gallon thanks to the depressed demand for gasoline during the pandemic. 

“Gasoline demand has continued to struggle as the coronavirus has kept Americans in their homes and keys out of their cars, working and e-learning from home. But with positive outcomes from two vaccine trials, we’re beginning to see optimism return, leading prices to rise slightly just in time for Thanksgiving,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “However, survey results show continued anxiety from motorists even with the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in years, highlighting the challenges we’re facing in this Pandemic.” 

This chart shows the average gas prices during Thanksgiving from 2008 to 2019. It also shows the predicted average gas price for Thanksgiving 2020. Image courtesy GasBuddy

Nearly half the people who responded in GasBuddy’s survey said their travel plans are impacted by the coronavirus. 

The survey showed those who are traveling are taking shorter trips than in years past. There was a 75% increase in people who are traveling less than one hour to their Thanksgiving destination compared to 2019. 

GasBuddy said it surveyed 1860 people between Oct. 25-28 for its 2020 Thanksgiving Travel Survey. 

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