Gasoline Prices Pumped Up Ahead of Thanksgiving Travel

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Turkey trots are popular Thanksgiving day races, but not the mode of transportation to dinner, and Americans piling into cars this week will be paying a little more at the pump. Gasoline prices have risen over the past two weeks — on average 3.41 cents. This is the first increase since September 6, according to a recent Lundberg survey.

Lundburg’s President, Trilby Lundberg, sees it as the beginning of a new trend. ‘‘This is the end of the price cutting,’’ the Boston Globe reports Lundburg said. ‘‘Refiner margins are still squeezed, and now retailers are paying higher wholesale prices so they’re getting squeezed. There’s probably another five to 10 cents increase to come on the street even if crude oil prices don’t jump higher.’’

Lundburg’s survey was released Sunday, and says the averages per gallon are now: regular $3.25, midgrade $3.44, and premium $3.59. The American Automobile Association (AAA) publishes daily averages and prices continued to moderately increase over Sunday and into Monday, with regular at $3.28 per gallon. Travelers, who AAA says will journey on average 601 miles over the holiday weekend, may now be paying more during their trip than previously expected.

AAA Chief Operating Officer, Marshall L. Doney said in AAA’s Thanksgiving Travel Forecast that, “For those traveling, the good news is motorists will receive a holiday bonus in the form of lower gas prices, which are at their lowest levels for the holiday since 2010.”

The price upticks are eating into that holiday bonus but gasoline prices are lower than last year, when regular averaged $3.426 a gallon. Whether or not the prices will continue to reduce spare change for holiday shopping depends on who is consulted. Unlike Lundberg, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson, John B. Townsend, said in a press release refinery issues would be resolved when seasonal maintenance ends. ”Our best estimation is that gas prices have not reached a low for the year, however, prices could rise another 5-10 cents in the short term before falling again through the end of the year,” Townsend stated.

Brent crude prices are, for the time, unlikely to drive the price at the pump up. Chee Tat Tan, and investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore told Reuters, ”When the U.S. market opens, we expect a further fall in Brent and to a lesser extend in WTI.” Tan predicted that the deal between Iran and the U.S. over nuclear capabilities could spark a market reaction where Brent prices fall to $107 per barrel. Brent prices Monday morning were roughly $111 per barrel.

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