INDIANAPOLIS — When drivers hit the road to go to a Thanksgiving event, they will see the highest gas prices on record.

Analysts from Gas Buddy project that average national gasoline prices will be at their highest seasonal level ever. The national average is projected to stand at $3.68 on Thanksgiving Day, nearly $0.30 higher than in 2021. This is also $.20 higher than the previous record of $3.44 set in 2012.

In Indiana, the average cost of gas as of 11/16 is $3.984. Bloomington has the highest cost of gas at $4.261 while Evansville has the lowest cost of gas at $3.494.

“It has been a dizzying year at the pump, with motorists likely feeling nauseous not from the eggnog, but from the roller coaster ride at the pump with record gasoline prices earlier this year, which have fallen significantly since mid-summer,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. 

Behind that roller coaster of gasoline prices are less global refining capacity and sanctions brought on by Russia’s war on Ukraine. AAA reports that the global cost of oil has been stuck in a narrow price range of $85 to $92 a barrel for several weeks.

While the gasoline prices will be up, AAA reports that 2022 is projected to be the third busiest for Thanksgiving travel since AAA started tracking in 2000.

AAA predicts that 54.6 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home for Thanksgiving. This is a 1.5% increase year-over-year and is almost back to pre-pandemic volumes.

“Families and friends are eager to spend time together this Thanksgiving, one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades,” says Paula Twidale, AAA’s Senior Vice President of Travel. “Plan ahead and pack your patience, whether you’re driving or flying.”

The majority of people are expected to drive to their destination. This is expected to create severe congestion in several U.S. metro areas. Analyst company INRIX recommends people travel early in the morning on Wednesday or before 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. In general, people should avoid traveling between 4-8 p.m. on the three days following Thanksgiving.

Best & Worst Times to Travel (by car)

DateWorst travel timeBest travel time
11/23/2211:00 AM – 8:00 PMBefore 8:00 AM, After 8:00 PM
11/24/2211:00 AM – 3:00 PMBefore 11:00 AM, After 6:00 PM
11/25/224:00 PM – 8:00 PMBefore 11:00 AM, After 8:00 PM
11/26/224:00 PM – 8:00 PMBefore 2:00 PM, After 8:00 PM
11/27/224:00 PM – 8:00 PMBefore 11:00 AM, After 8:00 PM
INRIX

“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different,” says Bob Pishue, Transportation Analyst, INRIX. “Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon nationally, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the holiday weekend. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”

GasBuddy offers several money-saving tips for motorists on the road this holiday season:

  • Shop around for the best prices. The first gas station you see isn’t always the cheapest and driving a few extra blocks can save drivers upwards of 30 cents per gallon. GasBuddy also offers a Search Along Route feature to help drivers plan stops on their road trip.
  • Pay with GasBuddy. A free payments service that offers up to 25 cents off per gallon on every fill-up at thousands of gas stations nationwide. Drivers can save upwards of $10 per tank when used with the GasBuddy app during their holiday travels.
  • Slow down on the road. Aggressive driving habits like speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking can cost drivers hundreds of extra dollars per year in fuel consumption.
  • Watch out for state lines. Differences in state and local taxes can make filling up cheaper or more expensive if you’re crossing state lines on our trip.If traveling through multiple states, check the GasBuddy app to compare prices before filling up.