Concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic are resulting in fewer Americans planning to travel over Thanksgiving, leading to lower gas prices.
Thanksgiving is usually the busiest travel period on the U.S. calendar, but the continued COVID-19 pandemic looks set to change that statistic for 2020. COVID-19 is moving with increasing speed across the U.S., leaving few communities unaffected by its spread. The CDC is recommending Americans change their usual plans for Thanksgiving and the Holiday season to help halt the spread of the virus.
There are several reasons why gas prices across the U.S. continue to fall, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the positive response of Wall Street to the election of President-Elect Joe Biden. The failure of the lawsuits issued by President Donald Trump regarding his claims of election fraud during the 2020 Presidential vote has increased confidence for a smooth transition of power in January 2020.
The main reason for the tumbling gas prices almost falling to the historically low levels of the end of President Obama’s Administration remains the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 continues to surge across the U.S. with Arizona introducing strict new rules and regulations as the state tries to pause the spread of the virus. The CDC has begun to issue stricter guidelines for the U.S. public to follow as Thanksgiving approaches. These include a recommendation for limiting the number of guests as private residences over Thanksgiving and into the Holiday season. Face coverings are recommended and travel away from the home of any person is not being recommended over the next few months.
Calls for curbs on Holiday travel have been increasing over the last few weeks as concerns grow over the failure of U.S. officials to halt the spread of the pandemic. COVID-19 remains the main concern for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has led to AAA forecasting one of the quietest Thanksgiving travel periods in history. The high level of production in oil-producing parts of the world has continued leaving the majority of oil companies with surplus barrels forcing prices down to levels not seen since 2015.
News of the low gas prices expected for Thanksgiving and the following Holiday season could result in some travelers deciding to take the risk and see family members over the Holiday season. Various studies are being released to try and model the effects of the Thanksgiving Holiday and the following season on COVID-19 cases in the New Year. One of those making for harrowing reading is from The University of Washington in St. Louis predicts a doubling of the number of reported infections by January 20. To the start of the week of Thanksgiving, the reported number of COVID-19 cases had reached more than 12 million. Experts at the University of Washington at St. Louis explain the current rate of infection will speed quickly over the next month to almost double the number of COVID-19 cases over the coming two months.
The report from the University of Washington at St. Louis predicts the continuing rise in cases will reach a peak around January 20 with over 20 million reported cases. The computer models used to predict the rising number of cases have shown the effects on the hospital system of the COVID-19 pandemic will climb even higher. By Thanksgiving week, the number of people being treated for COVID-19 in hospital locations had reached more than 85,000 across the U.S. This number is expected to rise and will bring more issues to the medical sector as flu season brings more patients to hospitals.
Gas prices will continue to fall and could reach record lows in the next month as cases rise and fewer people travel due to the pandemic. Among the lowest gas prices expected for Thanksgiving is $1.73 in Alabama, which will be the norm across much of the Deep South. The price of gas will be higher through California and Hawaii, where averages will remain above $3 for most locations.