Gas prices drop, but higher than last yearThanksgiving travelers will get a break at the gas pump, but only if they look back to last month instead of last year. Average gas prices in North Dakota on Sunday were down by about 20 cents over the last month, to $3.33 a gallon — though they edged up 7 cents Monday, according to the website NorthDakotaGasPrices.com.
Thanksgiving travelers will get a break at the gas pump, but only if they look back to last month instead of last year.
Average gas prices in North Dakota on Sunday were down by about 20 cents over the last month, to $3.33 a gallon — though they edged up 7 cents Monday, according to the website NorthDakotaGasPrices.com.
The decline is a bit of good news for those driving out of town for the holiday, but it is an increase over a year ago when prices were around $2.83.
“It’s certainly much higher than last year,” said Patrick DeHaan, an analyst for GasBuddy.com, which maintains the North Dakota site.
Prices in Grand Forks were between $3.39 and $3.49, according to the website.
The price of a barrel of oil has been volatile recently, reaching above $100 last week and falling to $96 Monday, but the price of unleaded gasoline has not had the same swings, according to DeHaan.
Other fuel products, such as diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, are in short supply, leading investors to push up the contract prices for them, he said. At the same time, the market for gasoline contracts is quieter, leaving prices stagnant or lower. Wholesale prices, what gas stations pay for their fuel, are at their lowest point since February.
“You have investors looking for what to invest in, buyers looking for what to buy,” DeHaan said.
Weak economic forecasts for the United States and Europe have put prices on a downward trend in recent months, DeHaan said, as energy prices tend to follow economic growth.
Thanksgiving, a four-day holiday for many people, is typically one of the busiest travel weekends in the country, and residents of the upper Midwest tend to travel more than people elsewhere.
According to the AAA Thanksgiving travel forecast, 17.1 percent of people in the region that includes North Dakota and Minnesota will travel farther than 50 miles over the weekend, compared to 13.5 percent nationwide.
“About one in six of everybody is going to travel somewhere over the Thanksgiving weekend,” said Gene LaDoucer, spokesman for AAA in North Dakota.
Average prices in Minnesota were lower than in North Dakota. Monday’s price was $3.19, down from $3.47 one month ago, according to GasBuddy. That price one year ago was $2.79.
The national average Monday was $3.35 a gallon, according to AAA.
DeHaan said prices were following their normal winter trend, when people tend to consume less gasoline.
“We’re going into the time of year when we’re not using as much gas right now,” he said. “Especially in North Dakota, where you’re not filling up the boat and going out for the weekend.”
Christopher Bjorke is a reporter at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.