MEDFORD, Ore. — People traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday this week have one more thing to be thankful for — gas prices that continue to fall, according to AAA.
"Plunging crude oil prices and seasonably lower demand for gasoline are putting downward pressure on pump prices in all 50 states," the organization said in a statement.
This week, the national average for regular unleaded gasoline fell seven cents to $2.61, while Oregon's (generally higher) average likewise dropped seven cents to $3.20. AAA says that these have been the largest single-week drops in gas prices this year.
Moreover, Southern Oregon is experiencing a rare gasoline renaissance, with prices lower in the Medford/Ashland area than in Portland — lower, even, than the state average.
But with the good news comes the bad — gas prices are still much higher this year than last year, and Oregon's prices are well above the national average.
As many as 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, AAA projects. That marks a 4.8 percent increase over last year.
"About 704,000 Oregonians will head over the river and through the woods," AAA said. "This is the second-highest travel volume on record for the holiday, second only to 2005."
About 89 percent of Americans plan to travel by car this year — 86 percent in the Pacific Northwest. About 609,000 Oregonians expect to drive.