September 30, 2022

Gas prices have fallen to $3.99 a gallon at about 88,000 stations in the U.S., a figure expected to rise to 95,000 next week, according to one expert. And drivers at 12 stations in four states already pay a dollar less than that.

Patrick De Haan, Head of Oil Analysis at GasBuddy, he said on Friday expect the national average to drop below $4 per gallon within days. And at a dozen stations, he said Saturday, prices were already less than $3.00 a gallon.

The national average Saturday morning was $4,060 per gallon, with drivers in California and Hawaii seeing the highest prices, according to data from GasBuddy. The prices were falling steadily from a record high of $5.03 a gallon on June 16, though they are still more than 87 cents higher than last year’s average.

But that’s partly because Americans are driving less. Since March, when the national average for natural gas it hit a monthly high of $4.33, AAA says drivers surveyed have cut back on how much they’re on the road. Nearly two-thirds of US adults have changed their driving habits since March, the agency found in a survey released last month, with nearly a quarter making major changes, including driving less, combining errands and limiting of shopping or dining.

AAA asked drivers in March how prices would affect their driving, and at the time, nearly 60 percent said they would change habits or lifestyle if gas rose to $4 a gallon, and three-quarters made changes — with 80 % to say he would drive less — if gas hits $5 a gallon.

Data from the US Energy Information Administration released this week shows a drop in demand from July 2020 amid COVID restrictions, according to AAA.

Natural gas has been one of the biggest drivers of inflation, which it reached 9.1% in June, the last month for which data is available. The gasoline index rose 11.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Biden administration ordered the release of oil from the strategic reserve earlier this year.

“There’s never one reason why oil prices go up or why oil goes down,” Amos Hochstein, the special presidential coordinator for international energy affairs, told CBS News’ Margaret Brennan. “Face the Nation” last month. “As you know, when oil prices go up, they tend to say there’s only one reason, and that’s political leadership.”

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