Pump prices are still significantly higher than they were a year ago despite a 99-day record of declining gas costs, which offered customers some confidence that wild inflation could be cooling.
According to AAA, the national average price for a gallon increased by less than a penny on Wednesday to $3.68 a gallon.
From the record $5.02 average in mid-June, that has decreased.
The question is whether Wednesday’s price increase was an exception or the start of future price increases.
The president, Joe Biden, who has claimed credit for lowering costs by releasing millions of oil from the country’s reserves, and motorists are interested in the answer.
The price of gasoline primarily reflects movements in the price of crude.
Since mid-June, the U.S. benchmark and the international Brent have fallen on rising concerns that a worldwide recession will lower energy demand.
According to several energy specialists, prices are more likely to increase than decrease.
Predictions are questionable, though, due to shifting opinions on the economy, Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, and even hurricane season, which is a constant threat to shut down refineries along the Gulf Coast.
The price decline’s 14-week streak was the longest since 2015.
Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service predicted that gasoline prices would fluctuate throughout the year, with some days seeing drops and others seeing increases.
He predicted that the next run of price hikes would occur early next year, pushed by speculators and investors, and “the concern that there won’t be enough fuel to go around.”
Price Futures Group expert Phil Flynn said that once withdrawals from the U.S. start, prices will rise. This fall marks the end of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which provided a million barrels per day for six months.
Some companies, like airlines, have been able to charge their customers more for gasoline. Others have failed to accomplish that.
The company’s seven vehicles go through roughly $20,000 in fuel a month, so the summer’s decline in gas costs was only somewhat helpful.
In June, the average price rose beyond $5 a gallon nationwide, and over $6 in California as increasing travel demand and economic growth boosted gasoline demand. Russia’s conflict in Ukraine drove up oil costs.
Families experienced financial hardship due to the price increase, and the Biden administration faced political difficulties.