Gas prices higher than we’ve seen lately

Will the price of gasoline impact your Thanksgiving travel this week?

A variety of circumstances have left gas prices the highest they have been in three years for the Thanksgiving week. Friday, the lowest gas we could find in the immediate Alpena area was $2.65 a gallon. The state average for regular unleaded was $2.66 a gallon according to the Internet site GasBuddy.com.

As a means of comparison, the average price for gas last year flirted near the $2 mark, at $2.04 a gallon. The year before gas was $2.23 a gallon. Heading into this past week the national average for gas was $2.72 a gallon. As the week has gone on, that price has dropped somewhat.

Historically, motorists have paid more for gas over the Thanksgiving holiday in years past than what they face this week. In 2014 gas was $2.94 a gallon, $3.21 in 2013 and $3.55 in 2012.

Gas prices this week also are about 18 cents higher than they were this same week last month.

While we doubt many motorists will curtail holiday plans because of gas prices, we do wonder how those prices might impact Christmas shopping that likely will begin in many homes Friday and this weekend. Will motorists be less likely to spend as much on gifts this year, or will gas prices not influence their spending mentality one way or the other?

As refineries switch from summer blend gas to winter blend fuel, gas prices are supposed to drop. Considering that for Michigan motorists the lowest price gas this year was in July, the old “normal” hasn’t held true.

What that means for holiday spending will be learned in the weeks ahead.