(NewsNation) — For many Americans, it’s been a little while since the number at the pump began with a “3.” But this weekend, the most common gas price in the country was $3.99, according to “Gas Buddy.”
The national average ticked down below $4.50 a gallon just before noon Monday.
Fuel is still priciest in the West, followed by the Northeast. It’s cheapest in the South — due to the short distance that gas has to travel from our refineries.
On average, prices have been in steady decline for a month now, after peaking above $5 nationally in June. Analysts say that’s because of less demand and a drop in the cost of crude oil.
But $4.50 is still considered a lot compared to what Americans were paying in the recent past. Two years ago, the national average was $2.20.
Some fear this recent relief may be short-lived.
President Joe Biden is releasing one million barrels per day from the national stockpile, but talks about suspending the federal gas tax have not progressed. This fall, tighter sanctions on Russia are set to kick in — which will impact the price of oil globally.
Patrick De Haan, an analyst with GasBuddy, said weather and the upcoming hurricane season will also play a role and one more wrench in the global supply chain may cause prices to shoot back up.
“I don’t know when the exact end may be, but we did see oil prices shooting up about $4 per barrel today on positive earnings reports from Wall Street,” he said. “Where we go in the weeks ahead is really going to be a function of economic news and the potential of a hurricane.”
During a hurricane, De Haan said, Biden could issue waivers that allow winter gasoline to be sold in the summer — which could alleviate any tightness in the gasoline supply.
Outside of that, De Haan doesn’t believe Biden can take much credit for falling prices, as he shouldn’t accept blame for rising prices.
“This is a global commodity and we’re subject to global economic conditions,” he said.
However, De Haan does believe the national average of $2.30 may come back in the future. But not as long as a war between Russia and Ukraine continues to pull the global commodity in Europe.