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The gas price decline ends its streak at 98 days amid hurricanes and war

The average for regular gas climbed to $3.68, up from $3.67 Tuesday.
A gas station near Truth or Consequences, N.M., on Aug. 16, 2022.
A gas station near Truth or Consequences, N.M., on Aug. 16.Mario Tama / Getty Images file

The average cost of gas in the U.S. inched up by a penny Wednesday, ending a 98-consecutive-day streak of declining prices, said.

The current average for regular gas climbed to $3.68, up from $3.67 Tuesday. Wide geographic ranges in those prices remain, data shows, with most Western states well above $4 a gallon, while states in the southeast hover just above $3 a gallon.

In a blog post Monday, a 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,” Andrew Gross said. “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 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 were putting pressure on supplies, according to GasBuddy chief petroleum analyst Patrick De 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.

CORRECTION (Sept. 21, 2022, 6:35 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the last name of the chief petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. He is Patrick De Haan, not Da Haan.