- Gas prices are under $4 per gallon nationwide for the first time since March, according to AAA.
- Falling oil prices have driven the drop in gas prices, experts say.
- One factor that could determine gas prices in the near future: hurricane season.
Months after gas prices reached all-time highs, drivers are feeling relief at the pump with the national average under $4 per gallon for the first time in five months.
The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. is $3.99, according to AAA. While still more than what prices were at last year at $3.18, it’s a major drop from when prices peaked at $5.01 in mid-June.
“It’s sort of like a very simple roller coaster ride because we went up, and now we’re coming down,” Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson told USA TODAY. “When things kind of go up really fast, they also tend to kind of fall really fast.”
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Why are gas prices falling?
The average national gas price has continued to drop ever since its peak on June 14. In fact, the average price has gone down at least one cent daily for 38 straight days.
Gross said three things have factored into falling prices: the cost of oil, less demand for gas and “a pretty good little band aid” in the Biden Administration releasing oil from the strategic petroleum reserve.
The biggest factor for the cost of gas is oil prices, Gross added. U.S. crude oil hit $93.18 a barrel, while the international standard Brent crude costs $103.81 as of Wednesday, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, both of which have dropped at least 20 cents a barrel since July Fourth weekend.
On the demand side, data from the EIA and AAA says the gas demand is similar to July 2020, when strict COVID-19 restrictions were in place.
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Will gas prices continue to drop?
There is no clear answer since there are numerous factors in play, such as price of oil, demand, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation and fears of a recession.
However, Gross said what could really “overturn the applecart” is the upcoming hurricane season.
“Hurricanes inevitably go right through the place where there’s oil production and refining. That’s where you don’t want them to go, but they’re like, magnets, they could roll right in there,” he said. “We just can’t make those predictions.”
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Where are gas prices the most expensive?
The West Coast is where you’ll find the most expensive gas, as two states – Hawaii and California – are the only states averaging over $5 per gallon, with the Aloha State having the highest prices. Here are the top five most expensive states to get gas in:
- Hawaii – $5.39
- California – $5.38
- Alaska – $4.94
- Nevada – $4.94
- Oregon – $4.88
Where are gas prices the least expensive?
Everything is bigger in Texas, except gas prices; it’s the state with the cheapest cost at the pump at $3.49.
Neighboring states and the Southeast is where you’ll find the cheapest gas in the country. In total, there are 26 states with an average under $4. Here is where gas costs the least:
- Texas – $3.49
- Arkansas – $3.53
- South Carolina – $3.53
- Tennessee – $3.55
- Georgia – $3.55
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.