GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Last week’s forecast of hard-to-swallow gasoline prices for Thanksgiving dinner are going down a whole lot easier today, and Christmas could deliver a delicious dessert.

A week ago analysts were suggesting that the cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline would be the highest they’ve ever been on Thanksgiving.

Today, in what is hailed as “terrific news for motorists,” gas prices are 7.3 cents lower than they were a week ago in Greensboro, 7.4 cents lower in North Carolina and a whopping 11.3 cents lower nationally.

Those figures are based on the prices recorded by GasBuddy. And the current average is only 10 cents more than last Thanksgiving week, defying projections.

The statewide average was posted as $3.30 per gallon, and nationally it is $3.64. Both are down significantly for the past month and up about a quarter a gallon from last year, when prices were the highest statewide they had been since 2013.

If you want to compare with the prices recorded by AAA, the average nationally is $3.662, down about 11.2 cents from last week and 25.4 cents up from last year. In North Carolina, the average is $3.322, down 7.1 cents in the past week and 11.3 cents higher than a year ago. And in Greensboro, the $3.308 is down 6.3 cents from last week and up 10.2 cents from last year.

The better news is that if you shop, you can beat $3 a gallon. There’s one station in Greensboro – Shannon’s Stop and Shop on West Gate City Boulevard – offering $2.99 per gallon, GasBuddy found.

The cheapest gallon in North Carolina will cost you $2.89 at Sam’s Club in Winterville. Sam’s Club in Gastonia has the price at $2.94, and there are five outlets in Greenville that are at $2.95.

“What an incredible turnaround in the last week,” GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan, the man who last week predicted the record-setting Thanksgiving, said in his weekly analysis.

“While a decline was expected in more states than [had been] last week, I didn’t expect every single state to hop on the bandwagon so quickly.

“But it’s terrific news as motorists prepare for Thanksgiving travel, with tens of thousands of stations under $3 per gallon, and thousands more to join in the next few weeks, barring a dramatic turnaround.”

The only negatively high number remains in diesel, which GasBuddy reported at $5.28 per gallon and AAA at $5.298. But even that was 7.3 cents/6.1 cents lower than a week ago.

If you want to compare to other areas, Winston-Salem is showing an average of $3.29, down 5.8 cents from last week for GasBuddy, and $3.279 (down 7.3 cents) via AAA.

Durham’s average usually trends higher and is at $3.41 on GasBuddy and $3.397 on AAA, that’s down by 2.6-3.8 cents per gallon. AAA shows the average in Charlotte to be $3.32, down 7 cents.

How AAA tracks gasoline prices in North Carolina vs. the nation. (AAA)

How about Christmas?

But gas prices are always a future concern, and you probably have a significant bit of driving planned for the Christmas holiday season. DeHaan says there could be a nice gift for consumers.

“Everyone will be seeing relief at the pump this week, with even more substantial declines on the way as oil prices plummeted last week to briefly trade under $80 per barrel,” he said. “It’s not impossible that if oil markets hold here, we could see a national average of $2.99 around Christmas, certainly the gift that every motorist is hoping for.

“Drivers shouldn’t be in a rush to fill up as prices will come down nearly coast-to-coast into the heavily traveled Thanksgiving holiday.”

Historical trends

GasBuddy’s historical average gasoline prices for Nov. 21 in Greensboro and the national average going back a decade:

                    GSO           U.S.

2021:        $3.19        $3.39

2020:        $1.91        $2.11

2019:        $2.37        $2.60

2018:        $2.46        $2.58

2017:        $2.37        $2.52

2016:        $2.06        $2.13

2015:        $2.01        $2.08

2014:        $2.73        $2.83

2013:        $3.21        $3.21

2012:        $3.28        $3.42