Thanksgiving travelers could have a rough trip this year with high gas prices, heavy traffic and snowy weather.
The national average gasoline price for Thanksgiving is projected to be at its highest since 2014, according to GasBuddy. The company is projecting the national average gas price this Thanksgiving will be $2.56 per gallon, a penny higher than last year. A GasBuddy news release states there will still be a 7% rise in motorists on the road for Thanksgiving versus 2018.
The national average has seen a smaller decline since October than usual, the release states. While prices have averaged a 10-cent decline from October to mid-November over the last decade, this year has seen a decline of just 5 cents over the same time frame.
As of Tuesday night, the average price in America was $2.60, down 1 cent from last week but up 6.4 cents from this time last year. The average price in Missouri on Tuesday was $2.275 while it cost an average of $2.30 in Sedalia as of Tuesday afternoon.
GasBuddy offered a few money-saving tips for motorists on the road this holiday season. It found Monday offers the lowest average gas price in 30 states, making it the best day to fill up. The day with the most expensive average gas prices is Friday. Aggressive driving habits like speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can cost drivers up to an extra $477 per year in fuel consumption.
According to AccuWeather, rain and thunderstorms are threatening travel plans for motorists from the Ohio Valley to the Gulf Coast in the days prior to Thanksgiving.
Locally, the National Weather Service is predicting rain and snow are likely Thanksgiving Day in Sedalia. It will possibly be mixed with freezing rain before 11 a.m., rain and snow likely between 11 a.m. and noon, then rain after noon. Although the chance of precipitation is 80%, snow accumulation is predicted at less than a half-inch. The holiday’s high will be near 38 degrees with wind around 6 mph.
Rain is expected again Friday and Saturday when temperatures could reach 60, but cloudy skies Sunday will bring colder temperatures around 40.
For those traveling to the northwest, snow has been falling all week in Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska. Those areas were expected to be dry Tuesday and Wednesday but more precipitation could arrive by Thanksgiving morning, according to AccuWeather. Thanksgiving Day is forecast to be quieter overall across the South, according to AccuWeather, but Friday to Saturday there may be another round of severe storms from parts of Texas and the southern Plains to the lower Mississippi Valley.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is offering its annual word of caution for holiday travel as roads see even more drivers than usual, especially with the chance of less-than-ideal weather.
MoDOT is reminding citizens to have a designated driver for any celebrations that involve alcohol. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2013 to 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period, making it one of the deadliest holidays on our roadways. According to MoDOT, Missouri averages 16 fatalities during the Thanksgiving period.
MoDOT also reminded drivers to put their phones away while driving and to avoid other distractions.
Distracted and impaired driving aren’t the only concerns for drivers this week. According to the MoDOT news release, AAA estimates nearly 50 million people will be on the nation’s roadways, with congestion peaking Wednesday afternoon. This is the highest anticipated Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005. Trips could take as much as four times longer, and travelers should expect delays throughout the week.
An increase in travel volume means Missouri interstate routes will be heavily crowded. Drivers can download the MoDOT app or visit www.modot.org/mo-go to get traffic alerts and view the Traveler Information Map.