Much to the delight of millions of long-frustrated American motorists, gasoline prices have now declined for thirty straight days, settling at a national average of $4.57 per gallon on Friday, according to AAA data.
Just last month, pain at the pump was a major understatement for many drivers, as prices were hovering around $5 per gallon.
According to Yahoo Finance, much of the price decline can be attributed to tumbling oil prices. The news outlet reported that international oil prices dipped below $100 on Thursday to levels last seen before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. West Texas Intermediate also trekked lower to about $93 after trading above $95 on Wednesday.
If crude oil prices continue their slide, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, noted on Twitter that gas stations across the country will likely lower prices by a penny or two every couple of days.
“Barring any unexpected refinery issues, hurricanes, and geopolitical changes, we could see the national average fall under $4 per gallon by mid-August,” he said in an email to NBC News, adding that more than half of all states are already selling gas under that amount.
De Haan also noted in a release that this is the “longest decline in average gas prices since the pandemic started in 2020 … with Americans shelling out $140 million less on gasoline every day than they did a month ago.”
He was optimistic that “we may see the trend last a fifth week, as long as oil prices remain cooperative and don’t surge beyond $105 per barrel, and as long as refinery production of gasoline remains strong.”
However, De Haan warned that “we’re not completely out of the woods yet—we could also see a sharp reversal in the decline. There remains the risk of a spike in prices that could send us to new record levels in August, should any disruptions occur. It could be a wild ride, but for now, the plummet at the pump shall continue.”
According to AAA, it appears that a sizable drop in gas demand is also helping to push pump prices lower. New data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed that gas demand fell from 9.41 million b/d to 8.06 million b/d last week, while total domestic gas stocks increased by 5.8 million bbl. Furthermore, total domestic crude stocks increased by 3.3 million bbl to 427.1 million bbl last week.
“As these supply/demand dynamics hold, drivers will likely continue to see price relief at the pump,” AAA wrote.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.