National average for a gallon of gas drops below $4

A customer pumps gas at an Exxon gas station on July 29, 2022 in Houston, Texas.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

The national average for a gallon of gas dropped below $4 on Thursday for the first time since March, in an ongoing sign that inflationary pressures for consumers are easing.

The price for a regular gallon of gas stood at $3.99 on Thursday, according to AAA. That’s more than a dollar below the record $5.02 consumers paid in June, unadjusted for inflation.

Part of the recent decline is thanks to high prices keeping consumers off the road and therefore curbing demand. Additionally, oil prices have dropped sharply, and the government has released barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, bringing more supply on the market. Some states have also temporarily suspended their gas tax in an effort to partially shield residents from rising prices.

Still, the national average is 81 cents per gallon above last year’s levels in what’s become a pain point for the Biden Administration ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

Higher energy costs have been a major driver of inflation, which is running at the hottest level in more than 40 years. The latest consumer price index report, however, showed pressures easing a bit, in large part because of declining energy prices.

During July energy prices fell 4.6% compared to June’s levels, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Wednesday. Gasoline prices fell 7.7%.

But some said consumers shouldn’t celebrate just yet. Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho, believes the recovery could be brief due to a number of catalysts that could push prices higher in the coming months.