Gas prices dip below $4 for the first time in 5 months

A year ago the average price was $3.20 a gallon, a price point many drivers would like to return to.

WASHINGTON — Gasoline prices fell to just under $4 for the first time in more than five months — good news for consumers who are grappling with high prices for many other essentials.

AAA said the national average for a gallon regular was $3.99 on Thursday.

According to Autoclub, prices have fallen by 15 cents in the past week and by 68 cents in the last month.

Shopping app GasBuddy reported that the national average had already dropped to $3.98 on Wednesday.

Falling prices for gas, airline tickets and clothing are giving consumers some relief, although inflation is still close to a four-decade high.

Oil prices started to rise in mid-2020 as economies recovered from the initial shock of the pandemic. They rose again as the US and its allies announced sanctions on Russian oil over Russia’s war in Ukraine.

More recently, however, oil prices have fallen amid concerns about slowing economic growth around the world. US benchmark crude has recently fallen to almost $90 a barrel from over $120 a barrel in June.

High prices can also cause US motorists to drive less. Gasoline demand fell 3.3% in early August from a week ago, having converged closer to 2021 numbers earlier in the summer.

Prices at the pump are likely to be a major issue ahead of the November midterm elections.

Republicans blame President Joe Biden for high gasoline prices, echoing his decisions to revoke a permit for a major pipeline and suspend new oil and gas leases on federal land.

Biden said over the weekend that a two-car family is saving $100 a month because prices have fallen from their peak in mid-June.

“This is air to breathe,” he tweeted. “And we’re not letting up anytime soon.”

Biden has also fought with oil companies, accusing them of not producing as much oil and gasoline as possible while making huge profits. “Exxon made more money than God this year,” he said in June.

Exxon said it increased oil production. Chevron CEO said Biden is trying to defame his industry.

The national average for gas has not been below $4 since early March. Prices peaked at $5.02 a gallon on June 14, according to the AAA. For the remainder of June they slowly declined and then began to fall more rapidly.

Drivers in California and Hawaii still pay over $5, and other western states pay nearly as much. The cheapest gasoline is in Texas and several other states in the South and Midwest.

A year ago, the national median price was about $3.20 a gallon. Gas prices dip below $4 for the first time in 5 months

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