Nearly 100 days of declines and gas prices inch up

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After almost 100 days of declining gas prices, the downward trend reversed course raising questions about which way prices are headed now.

The average price for gas in the U.S. fell for 98 days, but on Wednesday that changed. AAA data showed the price rose seven-tenths of one cent to $3.68 a gallon, the New York Times reported. The article said the changes are a sign that falling fuel costs may be waning.

While that increase may seem small it’s not worth mentioning, the NYT pointed out that recently the daily decline in prices had also slowed to just fractions of a cent.

In a post on Monday, AAA also pointed to the slowdown in declines. “Fewer drivers fueling up helped the national average pump price to drop four cents in the past week to reach $3.67. But it’s the smallest weekly decline in months and may signal that the streak of daily falling national average gas prices, approaching 100 days, is nearly finished.”

Two days later, there was a slight increase. As of today, the U.S. national average was up a full penny to $3.68.

“All streaks have to end at some point, and the national average for a gallon of gas has fallen $1.34 since its peak in mid-June,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson on Monday. “But there are big factors tugging on global oil prices—war, COVID, economic recession, and hurricane season. All this uncertainty could push oil prices higher, likely resulting in slightly higher pump prices.”

In an update today, AAA noted that demand has fallen while tight supply and fluctuating oil prices increased the national average. “If gas demand remains low and continues to drop, pump price increases will likely be minimized as supply increases,” the post said.

However, crude prices fell on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it would raise interest rates again. “The market is concerned that those efforts could lead to a recession, which would likely cause crude demand and prices to decrease.”

Virginia’s average gas price today of $3.38 is 30 cents below the national average, AAA data show. Meanwhile, prices in the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck are still below the state average.
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