U.S. gas prices fluctuated over the holidays but overall showed a downward trend as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 reduced demand nationwide.
According to an analysis conducted by AAA, the steady decline in oil prices slowed in recent days, with the national average for a gallon of gas falling just two cents week-over-week Monday to $3.28. The company says a fire at an Exxon Mobil Corp refinery in Baytown, Texas caused declining oil prices to even out and noted that if the damage forces the plant offline for long, “the disruption could negatively affect gas prices,” in the near-term.
“We should learn more in the coming days about the extent of the damage to the refinery,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said Monday. “If it can be back up and running in a few weeks, the effect could be minimal. But if repairs take months, consumers could begin seeing higher prices again at the pump.”
AAA also said that today’s national average of $3.28 for a gallon of gasoline is 11 cents less than a month ago and $1.03 more than the same time one year ago. California remains the most expensive state for gas prices at $4.66 a gallon as of Monday, December 27th, 2021, followed by Hawaii at $4.32 and Washington at $3.85.
The Biden Administration recently laid out its new proposed emissions standards for passengers cars and light trucks, which will apply to new vehicles from the 2023 to 2026 model years. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency predicts the stricter new emissions regulations will save American drivers between $210 and $420 billion between 2023 and 2050 due to lesser fuel costs, reduced impacts of climate change and improved public health from lower pollution. The Biden Admin hopes to eventually reduce domestic demand for oil by driving up EV adoption through government incentives, outlining a plan to ensure 50 percent of all new passenger cars sold by 2030 are battery-electric.