Gas prices in La Crosse area, statewide more than a dollar higher than last Thanksgiving

Prices at the pump in the La Crosse area are roughly $3.18 a gallon, according to the American Automobile Association

LA CROSSE AREA (WKBT) — Driving to your Thanksgiving destination will cost you more this year.

Average gas prices in the La Crosse area and statewide are more than a dollar higher compared with  Thanksgiving time last year, according to the American Automobile Association.

Pain at the pump is all too familiar.

“It just ebbs and flows all the time anyways, right?,” said Pat H., who is traveling from Wyoming to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving. “You got to travel, you got to travel. There’s nothing you can do about it.”

A regular gallon of gas costs roughly $3.18 in the La Crosse area, according to AAA. The national average is $3.40 a gallon.

Nationally, a gallon of gas is roughly $1.30 more than a year ago.

Prices are higher because oil companies still haven’t caught up with consumer demand after they cut production during the pandemic, said AAA Wisconsin spokesman Nick Jarmusz.

“So we’re seeing kind of a lag of supply not ramping up as quickly enough to meet demand, which has ramped up,” Jarmusz said.

In an attempt to ease surging prices, President Biden ordered the U.S. Tuesday to release 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve.

But Jarmusz says there’s a chance OPEC won’t have the capability to raise its supply much further.

“There’s a lot of steps in between releasing that oil and what’s available for consumers at the pump,” Jarmusz said.

So, what will it take for gas prices to fall back down?

It really depends on the supply chain, Jarmusz said.

“If anything that occurs to halt that increase in production, then prices will continue to remain high or potentially go even higher,” he said.

Regardless of how high gas prices go, they are not driving some people away from gathering for Turkey Day.

“I would rather see my family than worry about the gas price,” Pat said.

If your car requires premium fuel, get ready to pay even more.

The average price for premium gas in Wisconsin is $3.84 per gallon, the AAA said.

The highest-ever price average for regular gas AAA recorded in Wisconsin was nearly $4.20 per gallon in May 2011.

But Jarmusz said he doesn’t expect fuel to be that expensive anytime soon.

Jarmusz also has some good tips for you if you want to save on fuel if you’re traveling: Try carpooling, using a more fuel-efficient vehicle and slowing down to conserve fuel.

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