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Gas prices are providing some relief after hitting their March peak

Biden to release one-third of U.S. oil reserves
Biden to release one-third of U.S. oil reserves to combat inflation, lower gas prices 03:25

Motorists are feeling less pain at the pump amid a slide in gas prices from their record highs in March. With the U.S. and other nations unleashing more oil from emergency supplies, it's possible that the per-gallon price could continue its decline, experts say.

After hitting a record $4.33 on March 11, the national average for a gallon of gasoline has been on a steady slide, falling to $4.14 as of Friday, the lowest in more than a month, according to AAA.

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

Prices at the gas pump swiftly rose after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, pushing the average cost for a gallon of regular gasoline to above $4 for the first time since 2008. That jump came at the same time that consumers are grappling with the highest inflation in four decades, impacting everything from groceries to housing costs.

Higher gas prices have only added to already elevated inflation, leaving a picture that's "more bleak for the lower income" consumer, noted analysts at Bank of America Securities in a Friday note to clients.

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

"The fluctuating price of oil continues to be the main factor influencing pump prices," the motorist organization stated Thursday in a news release. 

Crude prices fell this week after the International Energy Agency's 31 member countries, including Canada, Germany and Japan, announced plans to release 120 million barrels of stockpiled crude. That includes a previously announced 60 million barrels from the U.S. That coordinated release, the second in just over a month, comes in response to spiking oil prices after Russia invaded Ukraine. 

The price of crude on Friday was headed toward a second weekly drop, with U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures lately priced at $97.27 a barrel. 

Since last Thursday, the following nine states and Washington, D.C., have seen the biggest average drops: 

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

Fuel thefts

As gas prices across the country surged last month, some people resorted to stealing fuel from service stations to fill up their own vehicles or to resell to others. Police in Tampa, Florida, in March arrested members of a criminal ring after the theft of $60,000 worth of fuel from gas stations in the area. 

The thirst for gas also has thieves targeting parked cars. Nick Trujillo of Atlanta, Georgia, didn't realize he was a victim of gas theft until he tried to refill his tank. 

"I was driving to go pick up food and stopped at the gas station. I started filling up with gas and the gas is just spewing everywhere. I got underneath the car and looked at it and there was a hole underneath the gas tank," he told CBS News. 

When lawmakers grilled energy executives about higher gas costs this week, the executives deflected criticisms that the industry was looking 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," Gretchen Watkins, president of Shell, told a House committee Wednesday in prepared remarks

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