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Drivers get a break as gas prices fall

The other good news to the broader economy is the plunge in diesel prices, now down to $3.75 a gallon from over $6 in 2022.
A motorist fills up the tank of a vehicle at a gasoline pump at a Costco warehouse
Posted at 4:02 PM, Jun 11, 2024

There is more money in Americans' pockets, at least at the gas pumps.

Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, explained, "Looking at the comparison to last year, Americans are collectively spending about a half a billion dollars less a week on gasoline every week, and that could grow in the weeks ahead."

According to AAA, the national average price of gas is around $3.44 per gallon. That's down about nine cents a gallon from a week ago, an exceptionally rare dip during the summer driving season. Falling demand is a key factor.

"Typically gasoline demand would be in the ballpark of somewhere between 9.1 and 9.5 million barrels a day. But we've been struggling to even hit even 8 million barrels of gasoline demand a day," said De Haan.

A customer pumps gas at a gas station.

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Crude oil prices have also cooled, with the West Texas Intermediate Crude, the U.S benchmark, in the mid-$70 a barrel in recent weeks.

The other good news to the broader economy is the plunge in diesel prices, now down to $3.75 a gallon from over $6 in 2022.

De Haan pointed out, "Much of the economy runs on diesel, whether it be construction vehicles or semitrucks or trains, much of the nation's commerce is really tied to the price of diesel."

One caution: The downward trend in prices could reverse if there's a major storm or hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, or if there are any disruptions in refining.

But for now, it's some welcome relief for cash-strapped consumers.