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Gas prices falling ahead of holiday season

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(NewsNation) — Gas prices are falling across the country just in time for the holiday season.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.70, down nine cents last week. Drivers were paying $3.41 a gallon on average a year ago at this time, according to The Associated Press.

California continues to have the highest average price, about $5.40 per gallon, due to state rules and taxes.

Analysts say the global cost of oil closed at $80 per barrel for the first time since late September with investors concerned about demand once a Russian oil embargo begins in early December and how fast China’s economy may reopen following COVID-19 restrictions.

It’s welcome news for the 50 million people who are expected to travel by car for Thanksgiving. According to AAA, roughly 54.6 million people will travel 50 miles or more from their home, a 1.5% increase compared to last year.

The busiest travel days on the nation’s highways are between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the Friday after between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., according to GasBuddy.

According to AAA’s metrics, this year could be the third busiest for Thanksgiving travel since the association started tracking in 2003.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.