U.S. gas prices on decline, could near $3 per gallon by Christmas

Nov. 21 (UPI) — Retail gasoline prices in the United States continue to follow trends in the broader commodities market with moves lower, motor club AAA finds, just in time for the busy holiday travel season.

AAA reported a national average retail price of $3.66 for a gallon of regular unleaded for Monday, about 10 cents per gallon lower than one week ago. High state taxes mean California has the highest state average at $5.25 per gallon, while Texas is boasting an average of $2.99, the lowest price in the nation.

Patrick DeHaan, the senior petroleum analyst at price-watcher GasBuddy, said there are already “tens of thousands” of filling stations listing a price below the $3 mark.

“Everyone will be seeing relief at the pump this week, with even more substantial declines on the way as oil prices plummeted last week to briefly trade under $80 per barrel,” he said. “It’s not impossible that if oil markets hold here, we could see a national average of $2.99 around Christmas, certainly the gift that every motorist is hoping for.”

It will be a busy couple of days for travelers, though DeHaan said there’s no reason to panic over supplies or prices. That said, AAA expects this year could be the third-busiest for Thanksgiving travel since the agency started keeping records in 2000.

AAA estimates this Thanksgiving will be one of the busiest travel holidays since record-keeping began. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Demand has been resilient against high levels of inflation. While it’s moderating in the U.S. economy, inflation for the countries that use the euro is closer to 10%, leading to concerns about the health of the global economy. Those concerns are compounded by China’s strict zero-tolerance policy on COVID-19 and, as a result, the price of crude oil is on the decline and taking gasoline along for the ride.

Brent, the global benchmark for the price of oil, was trading at $84.36 per barrel, down 3.7% as of 9:30 a.m. EST. It was about $10per barrel higher at the beginning of the month.

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