Jan 3, 2024 - Economy

Gas is now under $3 a gallon across most of America

A driver pumps gas at a Sunoco gas station in Washington, D.C. in Nov. 2023. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Many Americans across the U.S. may be enjoying lower gas prices, as signs point to a more normal economy in 2024 after several years of difficult headwinds.

Why it matters: Gas prices not only play a big role in consumers' spending budgets but can also impact how positively or negatively they view the economy.

The big picture: The national average price for a gallon of regular gas was $3.09 as of Wednesday, according to AAA.

  • This is about 15 cents less than a month ago and about 13 cents less than a year ago, per AAA data.
  • About two-thirds of gas stations across the country are already seen their gas prices drop below the $3 per gallon mark, CBS News reported.

State of play: However, the national average has been kept up by higher gas prices in the west and northeast.

  • The average gallon of gas in Pennsylvania on Wednesday cost $3.39. In California, prices topped $4.70 per gallon, while in Nevada, the average gallon of gas cost $3.95.
  • In Washington, the average price crept past $4.12, per AAA data.

Between the lines: This week's drop comes after a rise in gas prices just last week, according to a Gasbuddy blog post published Tuesday.

  • "There's a window of opportunity over the next six weeks" for the national gas price average to drop below $3 per gallon and reset from recent highs, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said in a statement.
  • If the national average falls below $3, it will be for the first time since 2021, De Haan noted.
  • "The good news continues for average diesel prices, which slipped below $4 per gallon again and stand at their lowest level since the summer," he added.

Go deeper: The economic mega-themes to watch in 2024

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to say that average gas prices in California topped $4.70 per gallon on Wednesday, not $3.70.

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