Gas Prices Continue Downward Trend

Fluctuating oil prices and low demand contribute to the national average decline.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The national average gas price took a dip over the past week, continuing a recent downward trend.

The average price at the pump hit $3.76 per gallon on Oct. 31. This price is 3 cents less than one month ago and 36 cents more than one year ago. Factors for the dip include moderate domestic fuel demand, wavering global oil prices and much lower West Coast gas prices, according to AAA.

"The recent period of tight oil inventory pushing prices higher on the West Coast is over as regional refineries completed needed maintenance," said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. "The average gas price in California, while still high compared to the rest of the country, is 85 cents cheaper than its peak in early October. This drop has taken pressure off the national average price."

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gas demand rose slightly from 8.68 million barrels per day to 8.93 million barrels per day last week, and total domestic gasoline stocks decreased from 209.4 million barrels to 207.9 million barrels. Although gasoline demand is up slightly, it remains nearly 400,000 barrels lower than this time last year. Fluctuating oil prices and low demand contribute to the national average price moving downward.

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The nation's top 10 largest weekly changes occurred in Rhode Island (+27 cents per gallon), Alaska (−24 cents), Connecticut (+22 cents), Maine (+22 cents), New Hampshire (+20 cents), Massachusetts (+19 cents), California (−19 cents), New Jersey (+18 cents), Delaware (+16 cents) and Vermont (+15 cents).

The nation's top 10 most expensive markets are California ($5.57 per gallon), Hawaii ($5.20), Nevada ($5.00), Oregon ($4.97), Washington ($4.92), Alaska ($4.86), Idaho ($4.33), Arizona ($4.30), Utah ($4.15) and Illinois ($4.15).

At the close of the formal trading session on Oct. 28, West Texas Intermediate decreased by $1.18 to settle at $87.90. A lower dollar contributed to price increases earlier last week; however, market concerns about global crude demand after China announced more COVID-19 lockdowns sent prices lower at the end of the week. For this week, persistent market concerns that economic growth will stall or decline, alongside decreased crude oil demand, could put downward pressure on prices, AAA reported.