Gas prices remain steady for 10 weeks
By WYATTE GRANTHAM-PHILIPS AP Business Writer
NEW YORK — It’s not just you. Across the US, prices at the pump have felt milder in recent months.
Gas prices have fallen or remained steady since Sept. 19 — marking about a 70day trajectory of decline, Andrew Gross, spokesperson for motor club AAA, told The Associated Press Tuesday.
As of Tuesday, the national average for gas prices stood just below $3.25 according to AAA. That’s down 25 cents from a month ago and 30 cents less than this time last year. Experts point to a recent decline in oil prices and a seasonal dip in demand, as well as easing inflation.
Each penny decline in the national average saves motorists close to $3.8 million, according to Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “If you amplify that times 30
cents, we’re talking about Americans that are spending hundreds of millions less on gasoline today than they were a year ago.”
Despite the drop, the global energy market can be volatile and lower gas prices down the road aren’t promised. A few factors contribute to today’s gas prices, but a
big explanation behind the decline is seasonality. In other words, prices at the pump almost always soothe some at this time of year.
For starters, there’s a switch to winter blend gasoline — which is cheaper to produce than the summer blend, Gross notes. And, despite some upticks around
the holidays, shorter days make hitting the road less enticing in the colder months.
“It’s dark and the weather is kind of crummy, and people just want to stay home,” Gross said. “Demand is a lot less (in the) fall and winter.”
On top of the seasonal cycle, inflation, while down from last year, is still high and continues to undercut Americans’ spending habits — which could also be contributing to today’s lower demand, De Haan added.
Beyond demand, experts also point to declining oil costs. Prices at the pump are highly dependent on crude oil, which is the main ingredient in gasoline. West Texas Intermediate crude, the US benchmark, has stayed in the high-to-mid $70s for the past three weeks — standing at about $76 a barrel as of Tuesday afternoon, down from over $82 a month ago.
Oil is a global commodity, so events impacting production and supply such as the Russia-Ukraine war can be felt domestically. There’s also been a notable uptick in US production that is “helping to keep a lid on prices” today, De Haan said.
At the start of October, American oil production hit an all-time high of 13.2 million barrels per day, passing the previous record set in early 2020 by 100,000 barrels.
Alberta Newspaper Group