Gasoline prices fell just below $4 for the first time in over five months. Good news for consumers struggling with high prices for many other essentials.
The national average for a regular gallon on Thursday was $3.99, according to AAA.
Prices have fallen 15 cents over the past week and 68 cents last month, according to the Automobile Club.
Shopping app GasBuddy reported that the national average had already fallen to $3.98 on Wednesday.
Falling prices for gasoline, airline tickets and clothing have given consumers some relief, but inflation is still near a 40-year high.
Oil prices started to rise in mid-2020 as the economy recovered from the initial shock of the pandemic. They rose again when the United States and its allies announced sanctions on Russian oil over Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Recently, however, oil prices have fallen due to concerns over slowing global economic growth. US benchmark crude has fallen from over $120 a barrel in June to close to $90 a barrel recently.
It’s also possible that US drivers are driving less because of higher prices. Gasoline demand in early August was down 3.3% from the same week last year after coming even closer to 2021 figures earlier in the summer.
Heading into November’s midterm elections, price increases are likely to become a major issue.
Republicans took advantage of President Joe Biden’s decision to denounce soaring gasoline prices, cancel permits for major pipelines, and suspend new oil and gas leases on state land.
Biden said last weekend that a family with two cars could save $100 a month as prices have fallen from their peak in mid-June.
“It’s a room to breathe,” he tweeted. “And we won’t give up anytime soon.”
Biden also accuses oil companies of making huge profits while not producing the maximum amount of oil and gasoline. “Exxon has made more profit than God this year,” he said in June.
Exxon said oil production increased. His CEO of Chevron said Biden was trying to smear his industry.
The national average for gas hasn’t fallen below $4 since early March. Prices hit a plateau at $5.02 a gallon on June 14, according to AAA. They declined slowly over the rest of June and then began to decline more rapidly.
Motorists in California and Hawaii still pay $5 or more, and similar amounts in other western states. The cheapest gas is in Texas and several other states in the South and Midwest.
A year ago, the national average price was about $3.20 per gallon.