Gasoline prices have dipped to just under the $4 mark for the first time in more than five months—good news for consumers who are struggling with high prices for many other essentials. The American Automobile Association says the national average for a gallon of reguar was $3.99 on Thursday, the AP reports. Prices have dropped 15 cents in the past week and 68 cents in the last month, according to the auto club. The shopping app GasBuddy reported that the national average was already down to $3.98 on Wednesday. Falling prices for gas, airline tickets and clothes are giving consumers a bit of relief, although inflation is still close to a four-decade high.
Oil prices began rising in mid-2020 as economies recovered from the initial shock of the pandemic. They rose again when the US and allies announced sanctions against Russian oil over Russia's war against Ukraine. Recently, however, oil prices have dropped on concern about slowing economic growth around the world. US benchmark crude oil has recently dipped close to $90 a barrel from over $120 a barrel in June. High prices also may be causing US motorists to drive less. Gasoline demand in early August was down 3.3% from the same week last year after tracking more closely to 2021 numbers earlier in the summer.
The nationwide average for gas hasn't been under $4 since early March. Prices topped out at $5.02 a gallon on June 14, according to AAA. They declined slowly the rest of June, then began dropping more rapidly. Motorists in California and Hawaii are still paying above $5, and other states in the West are paying close to that. The cheapest gas is in Texas and several other states in the South and Midwest. A year ago, the nationwide average price was around $3.20 a gallon.
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