Gas prices have dipped after hitting highs not seen since 2014, although the decline could be temporary.
The national average per gallon dipped nearly 3 cents to $3.14, according to GasBuddy, which analyzes reports from more than 150,000 gas stations across the country. Meanwhile, the average still stands 4.7 cents higher than a month ago and 97.2 cents higher than in July 2020.
A big reason for the decline? Crude oil prices dropped last week, with the potential for another dip in the near future as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reached a deal to boost production next month.
Another reason is the Delta variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.
“With oil prices struggling under the weight of a rise in new Covid cases thanks to the Delta variant and OPEC’s increase in oil production, average gas prices in most states finally drifted lower,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said in a statement.
Crude oil was trading at $72.24 (West Texas) and $74.86 (Brent) as of the close of July 23, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Experts warned, though, that drivers shouldn’t expect prices to fall much through the end of the summer, as demand remains high.
“It’s a cruel summer at the gas pump with prices showing little signs of relief. However, the more expensive prices aren’t stopping motorists from filling-up based on strong gasoline demand numbers,” Jeanette McGee, a spokesperson for the American Automobile Association (AAA), said in a statement.
De Haan recommends drivers “should enjoy the perhaps brief respite at the pump and buckle up for what might be a bumpy finish to summer.”
GasBuddy data showed the states with the highest gas prices are California and Hawaii, where drivers will see prices at or above $4 a gallon. Conversely, people in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas can expect to find gas for under $2.80 a gallon.
The largest jumps in prices at the pump occurred over the past week in Ohio, Michigan, Utah, Nevada, and Kansas, according to AAA. The increases ranged from 8 cents in Kansas and Nevada to 11 cents in Ohio.
Gas prices initially surged in the aftermath of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown, which triggered a rush on fuel and highlighted the vacancies in the fuel truck driver job market. Prices breached $3 a gallon, and, at one point, hit a national average of $3.22.
Still, prices remain lower than those seen in 2014, when the national average hit $3.70.