Higher gas prices not expected to hinder 2-state holiday travel

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 1:02 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Thanksgiving is about a week away and while some CSRA residents are already tackling busy stores with their grocery lists, others are preparing to travel for family get-togethers.

But gas prices have been rising recently, prompting some concerns about how much you’ll pay at the pump if you drive.

Gas prices in the Peach State are up only marginally week over week, but when you look at the long-term trend, it’s an upward trajectory:

  • The current Georgia average of $3.25 per gallon is up a dime from a month ago and up $1.28 per gallon from a year ago. Gas prices in Augusta are averaging $3.17 Wednesday, up 8 cents from a month ago and up $1.22 from a year ago.
  • In South Carolina, gas is averaging $3.13 per gallon, up 4 cents from a month ago and up $1.24 from a year ago. The average for Aiken and Edgefield counties is $3.12 per gallon, up about a dime from a year ago and up $1.22 from a year ago.

Georgia AAA spokesman Garrett Townsend doesn’t expect the higher prices to put a dent in travel plans.

“After almost two years of people being removed from getting together with family and friends, a slight uptick in prices is not going to slow people down from getting on the road and traveling during the holiday,” said Townsend.

Townsend says high gas prices in certain areas are caused by the high cost of crude oil, as well as higher demand.

“Generally during the holiday season, you usually find a little bit higher prices again because demand is up, as well.”

This year will be the first time many people across the nation are able to see their loved ones since the pandemic began. Townsend says roughly 1.5 million Georgians will hit the road this year, only 1% less than those who drove during Thanksgiving in 2019.

Also rebounding is air travel.

The number of airline passengers traveling for Thanksgiving this year is expected to rebound to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, but the Transportation Security Administration says it’s ready to handle the surge.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske said Wednesday he expects agency staffing to be sufficient for what’s traditionally the agency’s busiest travel period.

“We are prepared,” Pekoske said. He said travelers should expect long lines at airports and plan to spend a little more time getting through security. Also watch out for unruly fliers.

“The level of unruly behavior is much higher than I’ve ever seen it,” he said.

Townsend says travelers should prepare for anything that could easily ruin their trip.

“We always say pack your patience,” he said.

From reports by WTVM, WRDW/WAGT and The Associated Press