The average cost of gas in the U.S. inched up by a penny Wednesday, ending a 98-consecutive-day streak of declining prices, AAA.com said.
The current average for regular gas climbed to $3.68, up from $3.67 Tuesday. There remain wide geographic ranges in those prices, AAA.com data show, with most Western states well above $4 a gallon, while states in the southeast hovering just above $3 a gallon.
In a blog post Monday, an AAA spokesman said a confluence of global factors had been conspiring to end the streak.
“All streaks have to end at some point, and the national average for a gallon of gas has fallen $1.34 since its peak in mid-June,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “But there are big factors tugging on global oil prices — war, COVID, economic recession, and hurricane season. All this uncertainty could push oil prices higher, likely resulting in slightly higher pump prices.”
Separate data compiled by gas price tracking group GasBuddy.com showed that while the U.S. had seen its 14th-straight week of declines heading into this week, prices were in danger of increasing thanks to domestic refining disruptions that was putting pressure on supplies, according to GasBuddy.com chief petroleum analyst Patrick Da Haan.
U.S. gas prices are largely determined by global oil prices. Last week, the price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed above $88 a barrel for the first time since August. It has since come back down in price, suggesting further declines in U.S. pump prices could be in the offing.