Thanksgiving travel forecast to be back at pre-pandemic levels, but with higher gas prices

SEATTLE — Thousands of drivers will hit the roads on Wednesday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The latest numbers from AAA Washington show Thanksgiving travel will essentially be back to pre-pandemic levels.

What’s different this year is higher gas prices.

Nationally, people are paying an average of $3.40 per gallon, while Washington’s average on Wednesday was $3.87, according to AAA.

In King County, the average price is even higher at $4.08, with $3.95 per gallon in Snohomish County and $3.92 in Pierce County. Find average gas prices for all Washington counties here.

To counter rising gas prices, President Joe Biden ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Economic advisers said the amount is just enough to get middle class consumers through the current period of elevated prices.

Less than a week ago, the president also asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate price gouging.

“Gas supply companies are paying less and making a lot more. They do not seem to be passing it on to consumers at the pump,” said Biden.

Critics said the White House has helped drive up oil prices by cutting domestic production.

CBS financial analyst Jill Schlesinger said the move won’t benefit Thanksgiving drivers.