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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Gas prices drop dramatically in run-up to Thanksgiving day: reports

Motorists are in for a holiday surprise as gas prices across the nation declined to new lows, but prices are expected to remain well above pre-pandemic averages, according to AAA. (iStock)

Motorists across the nation are expected to find cheaper gas this week as prices continue to decline, according to reports. 

Gas prices dropped to $3.66 last week, 11 cents less than the week before and a sharp drop from the June peak of nearly $5.02, according to AAA.   

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, gas prices have fluctuated because of oil price volatility. Wavering demand for gas and a push by the Biden administration to bolster domestic oil production has helped push prices down, albeit from record highs.

The drop in prices comes as 20% more Americans are planning to hit the road this holiday season compared to last year, according to GasBuddy

"Everyone will be seeing relief at the pump this week, with even more substantial declines on the way as oil prices plummeted last week to briefly trade under $80 per barrel," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a statement. "It's not impossible that if oil markets hold here, we could see a national average of $2.99 around Christmas, certainly the gift that every motorist is hoping for. 

"Drivers shouldn't be in a rush to fill up as prices will come down nearly coast-to-coast into the heavily traveled Thanksgiving holiday," DeHaan continued.

If you want to save money on your auto costs, you could consider changing your auto insurance provider to get a lower monthly rate. You can visit Credible to shop around and compare rates to find your personalized premium without affecting your credit score.

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Where consumers pay the most for gas: study

Despite the decrease in the national average gas price, consumers are still paying above $4 per gallon in 13 states. Two states – California and Hawaii – have the highest average gas prices at $5.45 and $5.21 respectively, according to a Smart Asset study.

Drivers in the West are projected to pay the most for fueling their cars this holiday, according to the study. These states have paid more for gas throughout 2022 and "residents are currently allocating relatively high percentages of their income to gas expenditures," the study said. 

"This Thanksgiving will be about 20 cents higher than a year ago, and a dollar more per gallon than a pre-pandemic 2019," Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said. "However, we can be thankful that gas prices are moving in the right direction for now."

If you are shopping around for new auto insurance, you can use the Credible marketplace to compare multiple providers and find your personalized rate in minutes without affecting your credit score.

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How to save on car costs this holiday

Although gas prices are moving in the right direction, it may not be enough for some people, according to Andrea Woroch, an author and budgeting expert. That's because consumers are dealing with higher costs for other daily essentials and household bills, including groceries and energy, Woroch said. 

For some financial relief, here are three things you can do now to reduce spending on your auto bills.

Compare prices and pay less

Always compare prices. For example, consumers could download an app to help track cheaper gas prices in their area. In addition, Woroch advises that consumers look for coupons and second-hand options for clothing, gadgets, furniture or home goods.

"All of these strategies can free up money in your budget as you save on costlier essentials," Woroch said.

Bundle homeowners and auto insurance  

To have an insurance bundle, a policyholder must have more than one type of policy with the same insurance provider. Combining home and auto insurance plans could give policyholders a discount.

Install data-sharing devices to earn potential discounts

Usage-based insurance allows consumers' premiums to be based on how much or how safe they drive. Companies calculate this by monitoring the driver's behavior, either through a mobile app or a device installed in the vehicle. 

Drivers can save an average of 20% off their insurance by installing connected devices, smartphones or an auto manufacturer mobile app to monitor and report details about driving habits, according to Policygenius.

Some insurance policies may offer safe driver discounts through telematics options or based on your driving record, while others provide discounts for young drivers. To help you find the best insurance rate for your situation, you can visit Credible to compare multiple providers at once and choose the right option for you.

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Have a finance-related question, but don't know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at moneyexpert@credible.com and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column. 

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