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Holiday travel in Southeast Wisconsin: Gaps in gas prices and peak days at Milwaukee airport

The cost of filling your tank before giving thanks really depends on where you stop. In one day, driving all over the Milwaukee area, we found more than 8 different prices.
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Posted at 4:35 PM, Nov 22, 2022

MILWAUKEE — The cost of filling your tank before giving thanks really depends on where you stop.

In one day, driving all over the Milwaukee area, TMJ4 found more than 8 different prices. The highest we saw on Tuesday was $3.49/gallon. The lowest was $2.83/gallon. That’s a 66-cent difference.

“When I saw the $2.83 advertised, I pulled in right away,” said Wendy Krause of Franklin. “I can’t believe the range in prices at gas stations along the same road. You have to save where you can. It really adds up. Every bit helps, especially as groceries for Thanksgiving and Christmas presents are costing more this year.”

So why do gas prices vary so much? Experts say some gas stations will take a hit on gas to get you in the door to spend money on other things, like food and drinks. Sometimes gas stations have other profit streams, like a restaurant or car wash, so they can afford to charge a little less for gas.

Gas stations with easy highway access, or a prime location in a city, typically charge more for gas because they pay more for that land. High real estate prices are reflected in the price per gallon.

What gas stations pay for fuel varies widely as well, and so do fuel delivery schedules. Both of those things can also impact what customers pay at the pump.

WATCH: Lines at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport on Tuesday.

Security line Tuesday afternoon at Mitchell International

Thousands of others in our area are opting for air travel. At Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport on Tuesday, we noticed long lines, but they seemed to move fast.

“I travel a lot and definitely noticed more people today,” said Carson Ward, who traveled home to Waukesha from Charlotte. “It was very busy, but also pretty easy honestly. I didn’t have any problems.”

More than 100,000 passengers are expected to pass through Mitchell International over the next week. Peak air travel days are the two days before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday and Monday after. On each of those peak days, Milwaukee’s airport is expecting more than 16,000 departing and arriving passengers.

Airport officials expect this to be the busiest holiday travel season since 2019. That’s pre-pandemic. To put that year in perspective, the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2019 was the busiest air travel day in Mitchell International Airport’s history, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

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