While we all expect – or, rather, have grown accustomed to – higher prices at the pump come the holiday season, this year's gas prices in the days leading up to Thanksgiving have reached a fresh level of absurdity.
As reported on by KPIX, notables at AAA and Gas Buddy said yesterday that gas prices in San Francisco are among the highest in the country at $3.98 a gallon, on average. The rest of the Bay Area isn't too far behind either, mind you; Oakland prices averaged $3.91 a gallon, with San Jose coming in at $3.84. These prices (that'll make your wallet wince) have yet to been seen in the Bay Area so soon before Thanksgiving.
This is all despite, too, the fact that national per-gallon gas price averages have actually dropped by three cents to $2.66, according to The Washington Post.
Filling up the car for #Thanksgiving will be the most expensive in 5 years, with holiday travel up 7% from last year. Everything else you need to know for the trip: https://t.co/TyrjftHFuJ 🦃 pic.twitter.com/sH9B2UeO9r— GasBuddy (@GasBuddy) November 19, 2019
The reason for the sudden spike in gas prices come November, you ask? It's economics 1-0-1, really: Supply and demand.
Because of the increasing amount of people packing up their cars and heading out on the road – which in 2017 topped 102 million people, a 4 percent increase from the past year, AAA found – oil and gas refineries are pressed to the wire, thus adding the increase in per-gallon and barrel prices.
The California Energy Commission also says that Golden State residents and transients pay about 80 cents on the gallon in taxes and miscellaneous fees, says the San Diego Union-Tribune. Refineries, as well, are needing to make the shift to "winter blends," which only fuels the current price spike.
Thankfully though, these dizzying prices are slated to fall as that shift is completed during the next few weeks, the cheaper winter blended fuels becoming more readily available.
Earlier last month, Bay Area locals commonly saw gas prices well over $4, due to various refineries along the west coast experiencing intermittent problems, causing supply to decrease and prices to skyrocket.
Let's just hope we don't see a repeat of that as Christmas closes in.