High Thanksgiving Gas Prices Could Sabotage Black Friday

While lower than what they have been, gas prices will actually be higher this Thanksgiving than in the past.

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Patrick DeHaan is a senior analyst at gasbuddy.com.

Mixed bag of emotions on gasoline prices as Thanksgiving looms.

Motorists are happy about falling gasoline prices. Right? Falling gasoline prices are always good, especially ahead of the Thanksgiving weekend. Not everyone is feeling that way, and it is understandable why not everyone is giving thanks.

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Gasoline prices this Thanksgiving will be 25-50 cents higher than they ever have been over the long weekend, but prices have also slowly dropped over the last few weeks, even in the midst of oil spurting past $100 per barrel. Having said that, it's easy to see why some motorists are either confused, enraged, or have no idea what's going on with prices. Let's spell it out again. Gasoline prices will be falling going into 2011 Thanksgiving weekend, but they will still be at all time record highs for the weekend.

Looking at GasBuddy polls we've conducted over the past few years, we found that each year that saw higher gasoline prices than the previous led to more people staying closer to home for Thanksgiving, essentially driving less. Motorists still want their family traditions, but they aren't willing to drive as far for the lucrative turkey and fixings as they have been when gasoline prices are cheaper.

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With that backdrop, we could be setting ourselves up for a disappointing Black Friday—something that could spook the stock market and send oil and gasoline prices even lower. Stakes are always high for Black Friday, and if the psyche of high gasoline prices means fewer shoppers the day after, it will certainly give pause to whatever economic recovery has been underway.

For those of you with diesel rigs that you'll be driving—ouch—you may want to cook the turkey closer to home. Diesel prices have been skyrocketing lately as diesel demand remains high and supply tight. No matter how you celebrate, are you cheering falling gasoline prices compared to where we came from a few months ago? Or are you still upset over the higher prices vs. last year? Chew on some turkey and leave a comment!

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