Could Gas Prices Drop Soon?

Gasoline fuel nozzle and cash money. Gas price, tax, ethanol and fossil fuel concept

Gas prices reached an-all time national high this summer, reaching an average of up to $5.02/per gallon. In Sonoma County, we’ve seen prices over $6.00, nearing $7.00 a gallon… when will the price of gas get more affordable?

Soon, hopefully, if the recent drop in the national average is any indication. The national average is now $3.70/gallon, with one in ten gas stations across the country charging less than $3.00 a gallon.

What’s Caused National Gas Averages to Drop?

Several factors have led to lower gas prices around the country, including the lower cost of crude oil. Crude oil prices dropped below $90 a barrel in August—for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Another factor is that the demand for gas typically goes down after Labor Day—and gas prices are expected to continue to decrease. AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross stated, “Less expensive oil usually leads to less expensive gas for drivers. This trend has helped pump prices fall steadily for three straight months and, with fall approaching, more markets could soon see prices below $3 per gallon.” According to GasBuddy, we could see the nationwide average drop to $2.99 by the end of October.

However, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick de Haan, cautions about being overly optimistic. “While the recent drop in gas prices has been most welcomed, the issues that led to skyrocketing prices aren’t completely put to bed and could still lead prices to eventually climb back up, should something unexpected develop,” he said. “Hurricanes, unexpected issues that arise, E.U. sanctions on Russian energy, economic concerns, COVID in China, if demand in the U.S. doesn’t fall in autumn as it tends to do. There are so many different things that could change the outcome.”

In addition, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggested that the price of crude oil—which is responsible for more than half of the cost of consumer gasoline—could see sharp increases this winter due to new sanctions against Russia.

Why Has Gas Been So Expensive?

One of the most significant factors in the price of gas has been Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since the war began, the price of gas has risen more than $1.70 per gallon at its highest. While the U.S. doesn’t rely on Russia for very much of our crude oil, its price has affected the global market.

Another contributing factor is that gasoline producers are cautious about increasing their production due to the lingering supply and demand imbalance caused by the pandemic. President Biden has also claimed that many of the biggest oil companies, including Exxon Mobile, Chevron, and Shell, are profiteering to increase their profit margins.

What is the White House Doing to Help Lower Gas Prices?

Earlier this year, the White House started releasing 1 million barrels of oil a day from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was expected to lower the price of gas by 10 to 35 cents a gallon for six months. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency approved a cheaper, higher ethanol fuel (called E15) to be sold year-round. The U.S. has also been searching for other countries to purchase energy products from, including Venezuela and Iran.

How Can You Save Money at the Gas Pump?

Despite the nationwide average price of gas dropping, we continue to see significantly higher prices here in Sonoma County—and the Bay Area in general. It’s difficult to say when we’ll see them return to their pre-2022 prices. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to save money at the gas pump:

  • Cut down on non-essential trips
  • Use an app like GasBuddy or GasGuru to shop around for the best prices
  • Use an app like FuelLog to track your car’s gas mileage
  • Sign up for a gas station loyalty program or use credit cards that give you cash back for gas purchases
  • Choose gas stations that offer a discount for paying with cash
  • If you’re making multiple stops, map your route to find the most efficient way to get to each location
  • Make sure your vehicle is caught up on routine maintenance

While Cline Collision Center can’t do anything about gas prices, we can help you get your car back to its pre-accident condition after an accident. Whether you’ve been in a fender bender or simply need a headlight restoration for the dark winter days ahead, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today at (707) 591-9909 or book an appointment online.