PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Holiday travel is heating up. Thousands of people are packing up to hit the road or head to the airport for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching. And if you’re driving to your destination you can expect higher gas prices.READ MORE: Temple University Student Samuel Sean Collington Killed In Off-Campus Shooting In North Philadelphia
Some of the highest gas prices we’ve seen were at a Lukoil station at Ridge Pike and Chemical Road in Conshohocken. A gallon of regular gas is selling for $4.69.
And while this station may be an anomaly, people across our region are paying a lot more at the pump this year compared to last year.
“Definitely on a tighter budget now, or no more road trips or anything in the future,” driver Kerri Thiel said.
People are changing their plans as the price at the pump goes higher and higher.
“It’s usually like $50 now if I want to fill the tank up, around there,” Thiel said.
AAA says the national average for a gallon of regular is $3.40. That’s a dollar more than this time last year.
The higher prices come just as millions prepare for their first Thanksgiving together with family in two years. In spite of the spike, David Howard is driving to the midwest for Thanksgiving dinner.
“I don’t really think twice about it. I don’t drive my car that often but I’m going to Kentucky this weekend for the holidays and I’m driving,” Howard. said.
“Gas prices are not usually a deterrent, especially when it comes to Thanksgiving travel,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Jana Tidwell said.
AAA is projecting more than 53 million Americans to travel this year for Thanksgiving. They say the vast majority of them are traveling by car. They say Thanksgiving travel will likely reach near pre-pandemic levels.
Pennsylvania transportation officials say Thanksgiving will be the busiest travel holiday of the year and they’re urging you to use caution.
“That means there’s going to be a lot greater density on the road and a lot greater need for all of us to stay calm, give distance between vehicles, and just enjoy the ride as best we can,” Pennsylvania Turnpike COO Craig Shuey said.
Turnpike officials predict that the busiest times of travel will be from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, with 3.15 million motorists traveling over the holiday period.READ MORE: WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni To Speak With Media Following Loss To New York Giants
Approximately 625,000 motorists are expected to hit the road on Tuesday; 630,000 on Wednesday; and 450,000 on Thursday.
According to AAA, Pennsylvania’s gas average is $3.59; New Jersey’s is $3.45 a gallon; Delaware’s gas average is $3.34.
Those numbers could start to come down before the next round of holiday travel in December.
President Joe Biden announced plans Tuesday to cut fuel costs by tapping into the country’s strategic reserves.
Following weeks of criticism and calls for action, Biden announced that he’s ordered the release of a record-setting 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic petroleum reserves.
“I will do what needs to be done to reduce the price you pay at the pump,” Biden said.
The move comes with the average price of a gallon of regular gas at $3.40 nationally. And perhaps more than any other issue or consumer good, it’s a constant reminder of the pain Americans are feeling due to inflation.
Additionally, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom have also vowed to tap into their emergency reserves of petroleum in a coordinated effort with the U.S. to take on the global energy markets.
“Our combined actions will not solve the problem of high gas prices overnight. It will make a difference. It will take time but before long, you should see the price of gas drop where you fill up your tank,” Biden said.
Unfortunately, you may not see prices drop anytime soon.
For one, the reserves won’t be released until mid-to-late December. And secondly, there’s a fear that OPEC nations in the gulf retaliate and decrease their supply of petroleum.
Another problem for Biden could be the raw numbers of the situation. According to the Energy Information Administration, Americans used a little over 20 million barrels a day in September.
So the 50 million barrels which will be released in the weeks to come, would cover only two-and-a-half days of this country’s needs. That’s why many say this move is mostly symbolic.MORE NEWS: Officials Hold 'People Over Politics' Press Conference To Call For Changes In Rules For Pennsylvania Politicians
CBS3’s Howard Monroe and Siafa Lewis contributed to this report.