Here’s why area gas prices increased for first time in months



More than 13 weeks of consecutive declines in the average price of gas have come to an end.

Motorists on Wednesday were paying $2.89, which represents an increases of 37 cents compared to a week ago, according to AAA. Prices are down 5 cents compared to a month ago.

The national average for a gallon of gas fell to a 2023 low of $3.06 on Dec. 18, but increased on Dec. 21 to $3.12 on Dec. 21, the first weekly increase since September, according to AAA. The national average was still at that amount on Wednesday, up 2 cents from a week ago and 2 cents from a year ago, but 13 cents cheaper than a month ago, according to AAA.

“After 13 straight weeks of decline, average gasoline prices have edged higher due to optimistic comments from the Fed on cutting interest rates in 2024, coupled with Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, boosting concerns of a disruption to global shipping, including oil shipments,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said Tuesday. “For now, the price of gasoline has already jumped but could ease slightly this week ahead of the New Year.”

De Haan said that, for now, he is optimistic that the United States may still have a chance of seeing the first $2.99 national average since 2021 “sometime before spring arrives.”

AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said daily gas prices will likely move back and forth for the next month or so.

“Looking back at pre-pandemic 2019, the national average did not make a firm turn to moving higher daily until Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14,” Gross said in a statement.

The lowest price for a gallon of unleaded gas in the Dayton area was $2.59 a gallon, according to GasBuddy, which tracks fuel prices.

As of Tuesday, the most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $2.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $2.89, $2.79, $3.15, and $2.69 rounding out the top five most common prices.

The median U.S. gas price is $2.95 per gallon, up 7 cents from last week and about 12 cents lower than the national average. The top 10% of stations in the country average $4.34 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $2.52 per gallon.

The states with the lowest average prices on Wednesday were Oklahoma ($2.61), Mississippi ($2.64), and Texas ($2.64), according to GasBuddy. The states with the highest average prices: California ($4.62), Hawaii ($4.61) and Washington ($4.12).

De Haan last week posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, that the national average continued to rise “likely due to the amount of states that have price cycled,” including Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Texas. He predicted “we may go up slightly from here until Christmas then we could see a slight downward move.”

A price-cycling pattern is where stations ignore minor fluctuations in the market on a daily basis, with most stations undercutting each other by a penny or two each day until they run out of margin, De Haan previously told this news outlet. But when a retailer is no longer making any money, they will then raise their price 25 to 40 cents a gallon to pass along any price difference and to restore their margin to about 15 to 20 cents a gallon, he said.

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