Gas prices

Food Mart sign shows gas prices higher than $3 a gallon Nov. 13 in Temple at 2701 General Bruce Drive and 53rd Street.

Gas prices in Bell County can still be found below the state average for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel as costs surge this Thanksgiving.

The lowest price for gas in Temple is $2.83, recorded Friday at H-E-B, 1206 W. Adams Ave., according to GasBuddy.com.

The price for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel was $2.95 at two Temple CEFCO stores at 605 N. Third St. and 1212 W. Central Ave., GasBuddy.com showed. Belton’s lowest gas price was $2.95 at the CEFCO store at 601 E. Sixth Ave., according to the website.

The average price of regular unleaded gasoline in Texas was $2.99 Friday, GasBuddy.com showed. AAA reported the average price in Texas at $3.03 per gallon.

Gas prices this November are about 85% higher than last year. In November 2020, the lowest price at the pump was recorded in Temple at $1.53 per gallon.

The higher fuel costs come as AAA predicts about 53.4 million across the nation will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, a 13% increase from 2020.

AAA estimates that 48.3 million people will travel by automobile this Thanksgiving, according to a news release.

Of the Texas major metropolitan areas surveyed by AAA, drivers in El Paso are paying the most on average at $3.22 per gallon while drivers in Amarillo are paying the least at $2.87 per gallon. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.41 — one cent less when compared to this day last week and about $1.29 more than the price per gallon at this same time last year.

Since many Americans stayed home last year, millions more are traveling this year after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.

Demand for crude oil and gasoline increased substantially over the last year, AAA said.

The increase in demand comes as the world reopens and has led to higher crude oil prices and furthermore higher retail gasoline prices for much of 2021.

Oil prices started slipping below $80 a barrel in recent days, but it was too early to determine if prices will continue to drop leading up to Thanksgiving, AAA said.

“The silver lining for Texas drivers — this is the first time the statewide gas price average experienced a weekly drop in seven weeks,” AAA said.

“Texas drivers can be thankful that retail gas prices are starting to drop, but we won’t see anything close to the prices from Thanksgiving 2020,” AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster said in the release.