Drivers nationwide were seeing some relief at the pump Tuesday morning.
GasBuddy, a tech firm and fuel-pricing resource, reported Tuesday that the national average fell below $4 per gallon for the first time since early March. Tuesday’s average was $3.99 per gallon, down more than $1 from the record-high of $5.03 a gallon on June 14.
In California, gas prices remain the highest in the nation. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded was $5.420 Tuesday. Premium was $5.779, according to AAA.
Declining crude oil prices over the last month have helped this decline, saving Americans nearly $400 million at the pump when compared to spending in June.
Prices began increasing in March amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to GasBuddy, this caused the global oil supply to tighten at the same time demand rose into the summer. Inventories tightened as a result, sending prices skyrocketing to record levels. Some areas of California jumped as high as $7 a gallon at the peak of the high prices, along with diesel seeing its highest-ever ratio to regular gas.
Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said a perfect storm of factors led to record prices throughout the summer.
“We’ve never seen anything like 2022 at the pump, highlighted by once-in-a-lifetime events including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which caused myriad imbalances, exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine,” said De Haan. “As a result, we’ve seen gas prices behave in ways never witnessed before, jumping from $3 to $5 and now back to $3.99.”
He added that those contributing factors are still somewhat in play.
“While the recent drop in gas prices has been most welcomed, the issues that led to skyrocketing prices aren’t completely put to bed, and still could lead prices to eventually climb back up, should something unexpected develop,” he said.
GasBuddy recommends shopping around to find the best gas prices, adding that conditions change quickly and stations within a few blocks can sometimes vary in price by more than 30 cents per gallon.