Mar 15, 2022 - Economy

Oil prices suddenly declining, raising hopes gas may follow

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices
Data: FactSet; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

Oil prices have suddenly reversed course, falling almost as quickly as they rose in the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

  • Why it matters: The about-face raises the prospect of a corresponding drop in gas prices, which hit a record high last week.

By the numbers: The price of West Texas Intermediate — the U.S. benchmark crude oil — tumbled below $97 per barrel on Tuesday, having fallen more than $33 from its peak about a week ago.

  • That's only a few dollars more than it was priced at when the invasion began.
  • The national average price of gasoline — which tends to move in lockstep with oil prices, lagging only a few days as the market catches up — has leveled off in the low $4.30s over the last several days, according to AAA.

What we're watching: Whether Russia moves to cut off oil or gas supplies from Western customers, which could lead to another price spike.

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