US gas prices rise, ending 98-day streak of declines

U.S. gas prices rose slightly on Wednesday, ending a streak of 98 straight days that costs at the pump had fallen, according to the American Automobile Association.

The national median price rose to $3.681 a gallon from $3.674 a gallon a day earlier, according to the AAA. The surge marked the first time gas prices had risen since June 14, when the cost per gallon hit an all-time high of $5.016.

“All streaks have to end eventually, and the national average gas gallon has fallen $1.34 since its peak in mid-June,” AAA spokesman Andrew Gross said in a blog post earlier this week.

“But there are big factors pulling global oil prices – war, COVID, economic recession and hurricane season. All of this uncertainty could push oil prices higher, which will likely result in slightly higher pump prices,” Gross added.

The 98-day streak of declines was the longest of its kind since 2005. However, prices are still about 50 cents higher than a year ago.

fuel prices
Gas prices have weighed on US household budgets over the past year.
Getty Images

The Biden administration has embraced the ongoing decline in gas prices, which have declined on the back of weaker demand and falling oil prices, as global markets fret about a possible global recession. President Biden and others suggested that the release of oil from the strategic reserve helped stabilize prices.

While falling prices brought some relief to US households, other sources of inflation such as food and housing remained uncomfortably high.

There are signs that American motorists could face more pump pains.

Earlier this month Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen admitted there was a “risk” that gas prices would rise this winter as the US and European nations consider a price cap on Russian oil supplies.

“It’s a risk, and it’s a risk that we’re working on the price cap to address it,” Yellen said during a Sept. 11 appearance on CNN’s State of the Union. “This winter, the European Union will largely stop buying Russian oil, and it will also ban the provision of services that allow Russia to ship oil by tanker. It is possible that this could lead to an increase in oil prices.”

“Our price cap proposal is designed both to reduce Russian revenue, which they use to support their economy and fight this illegal war, and to maintain Russian oil stocks to keep global oil prices low,” Yellen added.

Oil prices rose on Wednesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a saber-rattling speech announcing a partial military mobilization in the country and renewed threats to use nuclear weapons.

Experts have warned that this week’s war between Russia and Ukraine could spark a European energy crisis, which could spill over into a global market already struggling to keep up with demand.

US oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate surged above $85 a barrel, while global benchmark Brent Crude surged above $91 a barrel.

The market will also be watching closely as the Federal Reserve announces the size of its next rate hike after the conclusion of its Wednesday afternoon meeting. Another sharp rise could see oil prices fall again. US gas prices rise, ending 98-day streak of declines


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