Gas prices dip below $4.50 for 1st time since May

Grace Cary/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — The national average price for a gallon of gas fell below $4.50 on Tuesday for the first time since the middle of May, according to AAA data. The price crossed the milestone amid a sustained fall in gas prices over the past month, owing in part to a decline in global demand.

The national average price for a gallon of gas, which stands at $4.49, has fallen more than 10% since it reached a peak of $5.01 last month, according to data AAA provided to ABC News.

In California, the state with the highest average price, a gallon of gas costs $5.87, though that price has fallen more than 8% over the past month. In South Carolina, the state with the lowest average gas price, a gallon costs $3.99, AAA data showed.

Sky-high prices in the summer stemmed from a travel boom that brought more people to the pump, experts told ABC News in late May.

That spike in demand coincided with a shortage of crude oil supply amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which prompted a widespread industry exit from Russia that pushed millions of barrels of oil off the market, the experts said.

In March, the U.S. and its allies announced the collective release of 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves over the following months, which sought to alleviate some of the supply shortage and blunt price increases.

The fall in gas prices marks good news for federal policymakers, who have sought to dial back prices while averting a recession.

But the milestone for falling gas prices follows an overall spike in the price of goods last month. The consumer price index, or CPI, stood at 9.1% in June, a significant increase from 8.6% in May, according to a release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics last Wednesday. That is the largest 12-month increase since December 1981.

“Tackling inflation is my top priority,” President Joe Biden said last Wednesday after the data was released. “We need to make more progress, more quickly, in getting price increases under control.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.