Gas prices are providing some relief after hitting their March peak

Motorists feel less pain at the pump as gasoline prices slip from March highs. As the US and other nations release more oil from emergency supplies, it’s possible the price per gallon could continue its decline, experts say.

After hitting a record $4.33 for a gallon of gasoline on March 11, the national average for gasoline has declined steadily, falling to $4.14 on Friday, its lowest level in more than a month, according to the AAA.

Gas prices could head below $4 a gallon nationwide, possibly in the next week or two, tweeted Patrick De Haan, oil and gas analyst at GasBuddy.

The prices at the pump rose quickly thereafter Russia’s invasion of Ukrainepushing the average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline above $4 for the first time since 2008. That jump came at the same time as consumers are grappling with the highest inflation in four decades, affecting everything from groceries to housing costs.

Higher gas prices only added to that already elevated inflationleaving a “dimmer picture for low-income consumers,” analysts at Bank of America Securities noted in a note to clients Friday.

The recent drop in gas costs is likely to continue if oil prices remain below $100 a barrel, according to the AAA.

“The fluctuating oil price continues to be the main factor affecting pump prices,” the motorists’ organization said in a press release on Thursday.

Crude oil prices fell this week after the 31 member countries of the International Energy Agency, including Canada, Germany and Japan, announced plans to release 120 million barrels of stored crude oil. This includes the already announced 60 million barrels from the USA. This coordinated release, the second in just over a month, comes in response to soaring oil prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Crude oil prices headed for a second weekly decline on Friday, with US West Texas Intermediate crude futures recently trading at $97.27 a barrel.

As of last Thursday, the following nine states and Washington, DC have seen the largest average declines:

  • Connecticut—31 cents
  • Michigan—11 cents
  • Ohio—11 cents
  • Wisconsin—10 cents
  • Indiana—10 cents
  • Georgia − 10 cents
  • Washington, DC – 9 cents
  • South Carolina—9 cents
  • Nevada − 9 cents
  • California − 9 cents

fuel theft

As gas prices rose across the country last month, Some people resorted to stealing fuel from petrol stations to fuel their own vehicles or to resell them to others. Tampa, Fla., police arrested members of a criminal ring in March after stealing $60,000 worth of fuel from area gas stations.

The thirst for petrol also makes thieves aim at parked cars. Nick Trujillo of Atlanta, Georgia, didn’t realize he was the victim of a gas theft until he tried to refill his gas tank.

“I was driving to get something to eat and stopped at the gas station. I started to fill up and the gas just splattered everywhere. I got under the car and looked, and there was a hole under the gas tank,” he told CBS News.

As lawmakers this week spied on energy sector executives over higher gas costs, executives deflected criticism that the industry was trying to boost profits by refusing to produce more oil and gas.

“Because oil is a global commodity, Shell does not set or control the price of crude oil,” Shell President Gretchen Watkins said in a prepared speech before a House committee on Wednesday.

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