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Gas prices cheaper as less people traveling for Thanksgiving, AAA reports

Cars driving on the highway. (PxFuel/Released)

While fewer drivers are expected to be on the road this Thanksgiving holiday, those traveling will see cheaper gas prices compared to average prices last year, AAA reports.

On average, gas prices nationally are nearly 50 cents cheaper than Thanksgiving week 2019.

As of Monday, Aiken County’s gas price average sat at $1.90, roughly 30 cents cheaper than the price average the same time last year.

South Carolina’s gas price average sat at $1.872 as of Monday. The average in 2019 was $2.281, according to AAA gas price average data.

Despite lower gas prices, Thanksgiving travel is expected to be “on the lighter side” as effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including health concerns and high unemployment rate, impact Americans’ decision to travel.

Forecast models by AAA anticipate at least a 10% drop in travel as health and government officials stress staying home and avoiding large gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Based on mid-October forecast models, AAA expects up to 50 million Americans to travel for Thanksgiving, a drop from 55 million in 2019.

However, AAA expects the number of travelers to decrease as Americans monitor the public health landscape, including rising COVID-19 positive case numbers, renewed quarantine restrictions, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel health notices, AAA reports.

“The wait-and-see travel trend continues to impact final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “The decision to travel is a personal one. For those who are considering making a trip, the majority will go by car, which provides the flexibility to modify holiday travel plans up until the day of departure.”

The CDC urges those traveling to check the infection rates and area restrictions before heading toward their destination.

Health experts with the CDC additionally suggest limiting the number of attendees as much as possible to allow for different households to remain at least 6 feet apart.

Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs. If weather permits, outdoor gatherings are encouraged as opposed to indoor gatherings.

For more information on COVID-19 precautions for holiday celebrations and small gatherings, visit the CDC’s website.

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