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John Townsend
Public Relations Manager, DC
O: (202) 481-6820 (ext. 4462108)
C: (202) 253-2171

The Week

Drivers in the District of Columbia saw gas prices decrease by seven cents in the past week, while pump prices across the Washington, D.C. metro area decreased by two cents.

Today’s national gas price average is $2.16, down a penny in the last week, down three cents in the last month, and down 46 cents from this time last year. 


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Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released long-awaited guidance on holiday gatherings. AAA continues to monitor travel trends and will release its Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast in November.

“Public health officials are discouraging family gatherings during the upcoming Thanksgiving Day holiday travel season,” said John B. Townsend 2nd, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “If Americans heed this medical advice, and they ought to, some analysts hold it would increase the ‘prospects of a very subdued Thanksgiving travel season.’ That is to be expected in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.”  

At the very least, the 2020 holiday travel season will look a lot different this time around, travel agents say, all the while reading the tea leaves scattered in the teacup. It remains to be seen if this fall’s cheaper pump prices will incentivize travel during the upcoming Thanksgiving Day and Christmas/New Year’s holiday periods. Six weeks ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday travel season pump prices posted a weekly average of $2.17 for a gallon of self-serve regular across these United States during the week of October 10-23.    

This compares to a weekly average price of $2.36 per gallon in the nation’s capital, where the profit margin was 69 cents a gallon. It is one of the reasons that Washington, D.C. slipped to tenth place among the top ten “most profitable metro areas to sell and supply gasoline” across the USA, according to  the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), which provides daily fuel price data to AAA. 

In the wake of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, gasoline sales are around 85% of 2019 levels, explains OPIS. By the way, U.S. retail gasoline prices averaged $2.61 per gallon in 2019. In terms of annualized retail pump prices, American consumers and motorists paid, in contrast, an average price of $2.897 per gallon in the decade. “US petroleum consumption fell 2.3% from August to 17.9 million barrels per day in September as the summer driving season ended, but the decline was the smallest for the month since 2014,” according to the latest data from the American Petroleum Institute.  

Ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday and the year-end holidays, flight searches are up as of late, according to the travel industry. But that might just be wishful thinking on the part of would-be travelers yearning to be home for the holidays. Their reluctance to book a holiday flight now is understandable, given the uncertainty of traveling safely during a pandemic that is raging in nearly 40 states. Wistfully, they are adopting a precautious wait-and-see mindset. 

Still, “air travel demand saw a rebound of 5.5% month to month last week across the United States,” according to data from the U.S. Transport Security Administration (TSA). All-in-all “U.S. airline passenger volumes increased from the 68.5% below year-ago levels seen four weeks ago, to 63% below year-ago levels in the most recent week.” 

“According to A4A, the U.S. in domestic load factor averaged 61% in the most recent week, with an average of 74 passengers per flight,” reports OPIS. “In comparison, an Oct. 14 A4A report showed the U.S. domestic load factor averaged 57% for the week ending Oct. 2, with an average of 68 passengers per flight. Over the course of 2019, there was an average of 99 passengers per departure and an 82% domestic flight load factor.” 

At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $39.85 per barrel, $1.03 lower than last Friday’s close. Domestic crude prices increased despite market concern about increasing coronavirus infections worldwide, which could lower crude demand as countries impose new restrictions that will likely limit oil consumption. However, if demand concerns continue to weigh on the market, crude prices — and gas prices — could decrease. 

The Weekend

“Area gas prices are following the national average lead this week,” said Townsend. “Decreases in U.S. gasoline demand, supply and imports are pushing prices lower.” 

The Week Ahead

As temperatures begin to cool across most of the country, hurricane season is still in effect, not ending until November 30. This year’s hurricane season has been exceptionally active, but in terms of gas prices, low U.S. gasoline demand may have helped contain gas price impact when typically, hurricane season would have caused gas prices to spike.

AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:

Next Weekend Gas Watch: Friday, October 30, 2020


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Washington, D.C. Mailing Address:
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 60 million members nationwide and nearly 82,000 members in the District of Columbia.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit

TEDx Wilmington Salon

Who's in the Driver's Seat? The Transformation of Transportation

On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, AAA and TEDx Wilmington held the first TEDx Salon dedicated to ideas worth spreading in transportation.

This event had:

  • 12 live talks given by 13 speakers
  • 368 people in attendance at the live event
  • More than 7,500 viewed the event online through Livestream, viewing events, and on the AAA Associate network
  • Online viewers came from all 50 states and approximately 30 countries around the world

View a slideshow from the event

This TEDx WilmingtonSalon was organized in partnership with AAA

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