Steady decline in gas prices is starting to sputter: AAA

The months-long decline in national gas prices appears to be stalling out, with the average price of a regular gallon ticking slightly upward at midweek.

The small rise from $3.681 per gallon on Tuesday to $3.684 on Wednesday ended a streak of declining prices. National prices last rose on June 14, when a gallon reached an average of $5.02, according to the American Automobile Association

AAA said gas prices dropped by 4 cents overall in the most recent reporting week, though it was the smallest decline in months. 

“All streaks have to end at some point, and the national average for a gallon of gas has fallen $1.34 since its peak in mid-June,” AAA spokesman Andrew Gross said. “But there are big factors tugging on global oil prices — war, COVID, economic recession, and hurricane season. All this uncertainty could push oil prices higher, likely resulting in slightly higher pump prices.” 

Soaring gas prices were a major drag on President Biden and his party’s mid-term election fortunes on the cusp of the summer driving season. 

Things started to improve as drivers balked at higher prices, increasing supply, and Mr. Biden released a large amount of oil from the strategic reserve. 

AAA said demand continues to go down as the U.S. enters the fall but the oil markets could bring surprises and challenge Mr. Biden’s narrative that inflation is starting to ease. 

“Although gasoline demand has decreased, fluctuating oil prices have led to smaller pump price decreases. If oil prices spike, the national average will likely reverse as pump prices increase,” AAA said in a blog post. 

AAA said the national average of $3.67 recorded at the start of this week is 24 cents less than a month ago but 48 cents more than a year ago.

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