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Gas Prices At Historic Levels Ahead Of Thanksgiving Holiday

Gasoline pump. (Credit: Miguel Gutierrez/Getty Images)

Gasoline pump. (Credit: Miguel Gutierrez/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Prices at the pump could gobble up your wallet this Thanksgiving. Gas prices are at an all-time high for this time of year.

As of Tuesday, the average price for a gallon of gasoline in Chicago was $3.65, 23 cents higher than the national average.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports on what’s behind the historic prices and how there’s still a way you can save.

Word of historic gas prices this Thanksgiving hit consumers hard.

“I’m probably gonna have a heart attack,” said motorist Candy Conda.

If you usually hit the road for Thanksgiving, you’ve seen the average prices in Chicago climb from $1.90 in 2008, to $2.78 in 2009, to $3.04 2010, and to $3.65 so far this year.

Why the jump this holiday? Experts say production is down in crisis countries like Libya and demand is up in booming countries like China.

There’s one more factor that might add a few pennies to your pump – gas station owners taking advantage of the holiday.

“Some stations are well-positioned near major interstates and they know that having that convenience factor, not only will they have a lot of traffic coming in, but if they keep their prices a few cents better they certainly can make out a little better,” said petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy.com.

One way to save on gas is to avoid stations near major interstates and, if you’re traveling out of state, consider charting your route before you leave on chicagogasprices.com.

The website will show you the cheapest stations along the route and, for example, give you directions on how to get to St. Louis from Chicago. Follow the suggestions on the website and, in this case, you’d save $14.00

“And we’d put some money in our pockets, you know, to stop for lunch,” DeHaan said.

With those skyrocketing gas prices, everyone is looking for ways to save.