Gas Prices Flatten Before Changes

A picture of a Type A motorhome pulled up to the gas pump at a station

Gas prices flattened from the previous week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported.

The stall might be temporary, as the administration took steps Tuesday to lower oil and fuel costs.

The national average for regular gasoline remained at $3.40 a gallon, a price up $1.29 a gallon from a year ago. The national average for diesel fell a penny from the previous week to $3.72 a gallon. Average diesel prices are up $1.26 a gallon from the same week a year ago.

Oil prices fell in the past week, spurred by reports President Joe Biden would consider releasing some of the U.S.’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

“The price of crude oil accounts for about 50%–60% of what consumers pay at the pump, so a lower oil price should translate into better gasoline prices for drivers,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “But until global oil production ramps back up to pre-pandemic levels, this recent dip in the price of crude may only be temporary.”

Biden’s administration hoped to make the dip last longer. The administration announced Tuesday it would release 50 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

“Over the last several weeks, as the president and members of his team have worked across the world so that major energy-consuming countries would take action in parallel, prices fall by nearly 10 percent in terms of the price of oil,” a White House senior administration official said. “As we have said, just having oil fall is insufficient; we need to make sure that relief is reaching American consumers. … We think that the action that the president is directing today is entirely appropriate for the circumstances, helping to pull forward that kind of relief in prices to the present time.”

AAA stated gasoline prices likely will remain elevated as long as oil prices are near or above $75 a barrel.

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