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Gas Prices Likely to Keep Falling Ahead of Peak Driving Season

With election-year prices at the pump a key campaign factor for U.S. presidential hopefuls, new projections indicate that the typical spring price spikes, which culminate in the Memorial Day driving weekend, will fall back earlier than previously anticipated.

According to AAA, the nationwide average price for a gallon of gasoline on Wednesday was $3.66, down from 3.667 on Tuesday, and the same as a week ago, despite the springtime surge that generally precedes Memorial Day weekend and the peak driving season. 

GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan on Tuesday predicted on X (formerly Twitter) that gasoline prices would "gently fall" in the coming weeks, as we near the holiday weekend. 

A month ago, according to AAA, the nationwide average per gallon of gasoline was $3.533, compared to a year ago, when the average was $3.667. 

"As the nationwide changeover to summer gasoline is now behind us, at least one of the three factors that had been actively causing prices to rise in the last couple of months is behind us," De Haan said. 

Refinery maintenance is still in progress, with several more weeks to go until completion. Once completed, refinery output is expected to increase, putting further downward pressure on prices at the pump, he added. 

While rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, and in the Middle East, have caused some concern about supply, de-escalation between Iran and Israel in particular has settled anxieties, with the price of oil-the main input for fuel-losing traction in recent days. 

At 3:14 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Brent crude oil was struggling to hold just over the $88/barrel mark, while the U.S. crude oil benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), was trading down below $83 per barrel

Oil moved slightly higher earlier on Wednesday following the release of the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) weekly inventory report, showing an estimated decline of 6.4 million barrels for the week to April 19, compared with an inventory build of 2.7 million barrels for the previous week. Analysts had expected an inventory build. 

Gasoline inventory, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday saw a draw of around half a million barrels.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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Charles Kennedy

Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com More

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