For the entire summer, drivers in the United States have been paying more than $3 a gallon for gasoline. Prices, after dipping extremely low at the height of the pandemic in the summer of 2020, have inched upwards during 2021, crossing the $3 mark for the first time in seven years in the spring.
However, gasoline demand traditionally drops in the fall, and with it the prices. And that appears to be the case this year.
GasBuddy said on its blog Monday that the average gas price in the United States has fallen 1.9 cents per gallon in the last week, to an average of $3.15 per gallon. That number is down 2.8 cents from a month earlier, while nearly a dollar lower than the price this time last year.
However, there is some worry with another tropical storm headed towards one of the centers of supply. Retail demand fell for the fourth straight week, which is typical in September. The most common price was $2.99 per gallon.
“Sagging U.S. gasoline demand along with continued recovery after Hurricane Ida have helped gas prices edge slightly lower in most states from where they were a week ago. But with Tropical Storm Nicholas threatening another key area of refineries in Houston with significant rain, we could see the decline in prices hit the pause button,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said in the blog post.
“While Nicholas would appear to be a minor storm, we could see a deluge of water—the same issue that caused some significant damage in Ida’s wake to refineries in Louisiana. Combined with the earlier storm, Nicholas could make things more challenging. However, as gasoline demand has now fallen for four straight weeks, there is more breathing room even if some capacity does temporarily go offline. It’s too early to tell, clearly, but motorists should be aware.”
AAA also said this week that gasoline prices in the United States have been dropping.
“With the height of summer in the rearview mirror, motorists are seeing some relief at the pump, as the national gas price average dropped by a penny on the week to $3.17,” AAA said on its website. “However, the recovery from Hurricane Ida remains slow, with the latest U.S. data showing just under half of the U.S. offshore oil production in the Gulf still idle after companies shuttered production ahead of the storm.”
“Timing is everything, and while supplies have tightened due to the slow recovery after Hurricane Ida, this is also the point when gas demand starts its seasonal decline,” Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson, said on the site. “While there may be some price fluctuation, we expect most motorists to see stability at the pump.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.