Gas prices across the U.S. are in a historic free fall after peaking at a record high of more than $5 a gallon on average less than a month ago, as signs (for now) point to continued declines over the coming weeks–but welcome relief has already arrived in these places, where gas is cheaper than $4 a gallon once again:
The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. is $4.70, according to AAA, a drop of more than 6% from the record high of nearly $5.02 reported June 14.
Gas is cheapest in Georgia and South Carolina, where AAA reports prices are about $4.21 a gallon.
But many Georgia counties report gas far below the state average, with AAA listing 30 counties, mainly in the southern half of the state, where gas is below $4 a gallon on average.
Six counties in Texas also have gas under $4 a gallon, along with two counties in South Carolina, two counties in Kentucky and one county in Mississippi, per AAA.
Many of the counties with the cheapest gas are rural, but eight metro areas have gas below $4 a gallon on average, according to AAA—four in Texas and four in Georgia.
The metro areas in Texas are: McAllen-Edinburg-Mission (pop. 870,781), Corpus Christi (pop. 442,600), Brownsville-Harlingen (pop. 421,017) and Laredo (pop. 259,172), while the Georgia metros are: Columbus (pop. 328,883), Warner Robins (pop. 179,605), Albany (pop. 157,308) and Valdosta (pop. 139,588).
What To Watch For
Patrick De Haan, head of analysis at GasBuddy, predicted Thursday that prices could decline another 20 to 35 cents a gallon on average in coming weeks.
5,873. That’s how many gas stations in the U.S. were selling gas for less than $4 a gallon on Friday, according to GasBuddy.
Gas prices in 10 states are still above $5 a gallon on average, with California boasting the most expensive prices in the nation—more than $6.11 a gallon, according to AAA.
The fall in gas prices is largely due to a decline in the cost of crude oil, which is refined to produce petroleum products. U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate was trading at more than $120 a barrel in June, but the price plummeted to below $100 a barrel earlier this week on fears a recession will curtail demand. The price rallied a bit to finish the week, with WTI trading at $104.69 when markets closed Friday. Worries about a recession causing decreased demand marked a sudden end to what had been a months-long spike in oil and gas prices, which was largely attributed to a combination of a ban on the import of Russian oil, diminished U.S. refining capacity and OPEC moving slowly to ramp up production. President Joe Biden last month called on Congress to pass legislation for a three-month “gas tax holiday” to temporarily lift the 18 cent-per-gallon federal gas tax, but the request received a chilly response from congressional Republicans and Democrats alike, making it very unlikely to pass.
The cheap prices in Georgia are bolstered by the suspension of the state’s 29.1 cent-per-gallon gas tax. The tax break is set to expire on Friday. States like New York, Maryland and Connecticut also moved to suspend their gas taxes during the surge in gas prices.