Gas prices fall before Thanksgiving -- but there's a catch

Gas prices fell holiday travelers ahead of Thanksgiving weekend, but the outlook may not be as rosy as the data suggests, according to a report from GasBuddy.

The average price of gas per gallon has fallen by more than 25 cents since October and sat at about $2.60 as of Wednesday, according to AAA. Prices are projected to sink even further to an average of $2.57 per gallon by Thanksgiving on Thursday.

However, prices are actually at their highest level for Thanksgiving weekend since 2014, when customers paid an average of $2.79 per gallon at the pump. The increase in price compared to recent years should dissuade some drivers from making holiday trips.

“While gas prices have dropped in the last month, we’ll be paying nearly $80 million more over the travel period as a country than we did last year. Conversely, we’ll be spending $1.7 billion less than what we spent at the pump during the 2012 Thanksgiving travel period,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “With gas prices decreasing in nearly every city every day since mid-October, travelers should be shopping around to find the stations that have passed along the big savings.”

Gas prices have fallen amid a record-setting slump in the U.S. oil market. Crude oil prices finished lower for 12 consecutive sessions earlier this month amid concerns that the market is oversupplied.

A total of five states had at least one gas station selling gas for less than $2 per gallon as of last week, and the national average price has fallen steadily.

But higher Thanksgiving gas prices compared to recent years are expected to contribute to a decline in traffic, with 15 percent fewer cars on the road compared to last year, according to GasBuddy’s Holiday Travel Survey.