After months of crushingly high prices at the gas station, consumers have been seeing some relief in recent weeks. Gas prices have now fallen 41 days in a row, and are plummeting this week in particular:
The average price for a gallon of gas nationwide now stands at $4.278, down more than 12 cents from just a week ago, and more than 60 cents from a month ago. The lower prices are due, at least in part, to simple economic forces. On Monday, AAA pointed to “low domestic demand for gasoline,” a marked change from recent trends, and one likely caused in part by the high prices themselves.
“Consumers appear to be taking the pressure off their wallets by fueling up less,” said Andrew Gross, a spokesman for AAA. “And there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic that pump prices will continue to fall, particularly if the global price for oil does not spike. But the overall situation remains very volatile.”
At the beginning of the year, gas prices were already on the rise due in large part to increased demand as the acute phase of the pandemic receded. But they soared even higher worldwide as Russia, one of the world’s biggest oil producers, invaded Ukraine and soon found itself hit with strict sanctions. President Biden took small-bore steps to ease consumers’ distress but couldn’t do much about it, and in June, the average price of gas across the United States hit $5 for the first time before beginning its descent.
With increased concerns that the country is about to enter or is in the beginning stages of a recession, it’s unclear if the cost of gas will continue to drop. But with wholesale gasoline prices ticking up, the brief era of steep drops may well be over in a matter of days.