The national average for the price of a gallon of regular gas is now lower than it was a year ago, according to Thursday data from AAA. The decline has been recorded throughout recent weeks as Americans have prepared for more of the holiday season.
On Thursday, the reported average per AAA was $3.329, and the average from a year prior was $3.343. The latest figures are substantially below the record highs seen earlier this year, when average prices passed $5 a gallon for regular gas, with prices in some areas like the West Coast significantly higher. To boost supply and help ease prices, the Biden administration has been drawing from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, in addition to announcing plans for replenishing those stocks. The president and his team have also pressured energy companies to keep prices lower amid concerns about these firms potentially taking undue advantage of recent economic conditions to rake in profits.
“Now I’ve been calling on energy companies who had the biggest years they’ve ever had in all of their history to begin to pass on those savings to the American people at the pump, where they’re going to be — going to be coming to them,” Biden said in a speech late last month. “And while these prices are lower, they’re not low enough. I continue to call on the producers to invest their record profits in America for Americans.” A release of supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was announced by the White House as lasting “through December,” per a recent release. Other recent drops in gas prices have also been credited to decreases in demand, while other factors — like cuts to oil production by countries in OPEC+, a group of nations that includes Russia and Saudi Arabia — could further impact prices.
At least some countries in the West are evidently still using crude oil originating with Russia, although a recap of energy market news from AAA notes that Western governments were recently set to begin the implementation of a price cap on Russian crude oil exports, and the pressures on supply from that action could also impact costs.
There are also continuing positive signs in the job market, with a federal report of jobs added across November showing the US economy ahead of expectations from economists. A full 263,000 jobs were added last month, which easily surpasses the expectation of 200,000 from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. The overall unemployment rate also stayed low at 3.7 percent, which was unchanged from the rate shared earlier for the preceding month. As previously reported on this site, job creation throughout the Biden administration has been consistently robust, as employers have continued to rebound from the initially devastating onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — although key industries including some of those behind last month’s job market jumps have already hit their particular pre-pandemic levels.