Months after gas prices reached all-time highs, drivers are feeling relief at the pump where the national average fell below $4 per gallon for the first time in five months.
The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in the USA is $3.99, according to AAA. Though still more than last year's price of $3.18, it's a major drop from when prices peaked at $5.01 in mid-June.
"It's sort of like a very simple roller coaster ride because we went up, and now we're coming down," Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, told USA TODAY. "When things kind of go up really fast, they also tend to kind of fall really fast."
Why are gas prices falling?
The average national gas price has continued to drop ever since its peak on June 14. The average price has gone down at least 1 cent daily for 38 straight days.
Gross said three things have factored into falling prices: the cost of oil, less demand for gas and "a pretty good little Band-Aid" in the Biden administration releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The biggest factor for the cost of gas is oil prices, Gross said. U.S. crude oil hit $93.18 a barrel, while the international standard Brent crude cost $103.81 as of Wednesday, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, both of which have dropped at least 20 cents a barrel since the July Fourth weekend.
On the demand side, data from the EIA and AAA shows the gas demand is similar to July 2020, when strict COVID-19 restrictions were in place.
Will gas prices continue to drop?
There is no clear answer since there are numerous factors that can affect the cost of gas, such as price of oil, demand, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation and fears of a recession.
Gross said what could really "overturn the applecart" is the hurricane season.
"Hurricanes inevitably go right through the place where there's oil production and refining. That's where you don't want them to go, but they're like magnets, they could roll right in there," he said. "We just can't make those predictions."
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Where is gas most expensive?
The West Coast is where you'll find the most expensive gas. Hawaii and California are the only states averaging more than $5 per gallon, and the Aloha State has the highest prices. Here are the top five most expensive states to get gas in:
Hawaii – $5.39
California – $5.38
Alaska – $4.94
Nevada – $4.94
Oregon – $4.88
Where is gas least expensive?
Everything is bigger in Texas, except gas prices; it's the state with the cheapest cost at the pump at $3.49.
Neighboring states and the Southeast have the cheapest gas in the country. There are 26 states with an average less than $4. Here is where gas costs the least:
Texas – $3.49
Arkansas – $3.53
South Carolina – $3.53
Tennessee – $3.55
Georgia – $3.55
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gas prices national average is under $4. Why is cost falling?