US gas prices lower than they were a year ago

The average price of gasoline in the U.S. is lower than it was a year ago, after many months of elevated prices marked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The country’s average price for a gallon of gasoline stood at about $3.33 on Thursday, just under the $3.34 this time last year, according to the AAA.

Gas prices are now at their lowest point since January.

In February, prices shot up following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, as some turned away from Russian fuel in protest, reshuffling the market. Prices peaked in June, averaging more than $5 per gallon.

For the past few weeks, gas prices have seen sharp declines. Likewise, oil prices have fallen over the past month.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil was selling at around $74 per barrel on Thursday, down from about $89 per barrel a month ago.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at gasoline price site GasBuddy, said a range of factors were contributing to the lower prices including reduced oil demand from COVID-19 related lockdowns in China, economic concerns as the Federal Reserve is expected to raise rates and high levels of activity at refineries that turn oil into gasoline.

“Demand is much lower right now in China,” he said. “That’s really the biggest concern of the market right now, it’s just that oil demand globally is soft.”

De Haan said that prices at the pump still have a way to fall to reach parity with the decline in crude oil prices.

He said that the national average price is “likely” to drop below $3 per gallon, which he said could occur “right around Christmas.”

Updated at 11:30 a.m.

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