Thanksgiving Travel Spurs Highest Week of Gas Demand Recorded by GasBuddy

The demand for gas has hit its highest level for more than 16 months as Americans take to the roads for Thanksgiving, according to a fuel monitoring website.

Data released by GasBuddy has shown that Wednesday saw the second-highest day of demand for gas since it began tracking the figure in July 2020.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said demand for gas on the eve of Thanksgiving "misses beating July 2 by just 0.53 percent," which made Wednesday the "second highest day of demand ever recorded by GasBuddy."

In a follow-up tweet, De Haan said demand on Wednesday had risen 25.2 percent from the previous Wednesday and was "25.5 percent above the average of the last four Wednesdays."

"Week to date," the tweet continued, describing Sunday to Wednesday, "we're seeing the highest week for demand ever recorded." This also refers to figures since July 2020.

"The level of demand is indeed a bit of a surprise to the upside. For demand to rival a summer holiday tells a powerful story," De Haan told Newsweek.

"I would not expect it to continue but yesterday's sky-high gasoline demand number is likely indicative of a very strong economy in which Americans are not being held back by high gasoline prices and wanting to hit the road to see loved ones again," he added.

According to the American Automobile Association, gasoline demand stood at about 9.24 million barrels a day in the week to November 19—a slight dip on the previous week's figure. Two weeks earlier, demand was at 9.5 million barrels.

The spike in demand recorded this week comes despite rising prices at the pump that have hit motorists hard.

As of 11.30 a.m. on Thursday, the average price of a gallon of gas was $3.40 across the country, according to GasBuddy. This was close to the average price 24 hours earlier and 0.6 cents lower than the same time last week.

A gallon was 3 cents more expensive than last week, and $1.28 higher than the average of $2.12 that motorists had to pay this time last year.

President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would be released. The move has been criticized by the energy industry for doing little to ease soaring gas prices, which presidents have little control over.

Industry experts say the release is unlikely to have much of an impact and was more of a political gesture to ease the concerns of Americans hit by inflation.

Vehicle filled with gas
A vehicle is filled with gas at an Exxon station on November 22 in Miami. Demand for gas is rising despite high prices. Joe Raedle/Getty