Updated Aug 10, 2023 - Economy

Where gas prices are falling — and where they're rising

Change in U.S. gas prices
Data: GasBuddy; Note: Price as of the 1st of each month; Map: Axios Visuals

A gallon of gas cost $3.79 on average nationwide as of Aug. 9, per GasBuddy.

  • That's up a bit from the winter months — as expected based on historical patterns — but lower than last year's highs of nearly $5.

Yes, but: Gas prices ticked up in recent weeks due to excessive heat in Gulf states like Texas and Louisiana, where many of the country's oil refineries are located.

  • "Refineries, which turn crude oil into products like gasoline, don't function as efficiently in 100+ degree weather," Axios' Emily Peck reports.

Why it matters: America is a nation of car travelers, with the average person driving nearly 13,500 miles per year.

  • Thus, higher gas prices take a bigger toll on our wallets — and contribute to overall inflation.
  • Gas prices can also influence how quickly people convert to low- or zero-emissions cars — a major Biden administration policy goal.
  • Still, how much you'll actually save by going electric can vary significantly based on your local gas and electricity rates, among other factors.

Zoom in: Compared to August 2022, gas prices have come down most significantly in Idaho (-14.4%), Nevada (-12.1%) and Massachusetts (-11.0%).

  • They've gone up most significantly in Iowa (+6.1%), Florida (+5.7%) and Georgia (+5.7%).

Be smart: Several factors can drive state-by-state variations in gas prices, including a state's taxes and its proximity to refineries.

  • But state-level gas prices tend to follow the same broader trendlines, with occasional variations.
  • As you can see in the map above, gas prices are generally falling or flat compared to August 2022.

What's next: All eyes are on hurricane season, as severe storms can further disrupt refineries — thus reducing supply and raising prices.

The bottom line: "The pace of increases has started to slow down over the last few days, and for now, appears to have hit a peak over the weekend and is beginning to gently fall," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a recent statement.

  • But "the respite from gasoline rising may not last long."

Go deeper: Listen to the Axios Today podcast, where host Niala Boodhoo and Alex Fitzpatrick share what people can expect to pay at the gas pump this weekend, depending on where you live.

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