Gas prices have continued to drop locally and nationally since late June, providing much needed relief to Nevadans and motorists across the country.
The national average on Thursday was $4.40 per gallon, a 56-cent dip from last month, according to AAA.
Nevada gas prices also have decreased, with the state average per gallon now at $5.20 on Thursday, an over 42-cent drop from last month. The state now ranks fourth highest in the nation for gas prices, down from second highest earlier this summer.
California remains the highest, but has dipped below the $6 mark, remaining at a $5.81 per gallon average. Hawaii, Alaska and Oregon trail close behind.
In Nye County, the average price for unleaded gas stands at $4.89, down more than 50 cents from last month.
The reason for the price dips declines remains the same — supply and demand, Patrick De Haan, lead petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, said.
“We’re talking about an increase in supply of some 10 million barrels over just the last couple of weeks,” he said. “So we’ve seen some improvement on supply along with concerns in regards to demand.”
Consumers change behaviors
High gas prices also have caused people to slow their gas consumption, leading to lower prices at the pump.
“People have really decided to try to make changes in their life that would save (at the) pump and that has had a dramatic impact on your gas prices,” said John Treanor, AAA spokesman.
Local drivers interviewed Wednesday said they’re happy to see prices dip, with some under $5 a gallon.
Hannah Smilowitz said that it felt “nice” to see gas prices under $5 but she hopes it will drop under $4. She said she has little wiggle room on gas usage because she commutes to work and school.
“We’ve just been dealing with the prices,” she said. “I remember paying $3.80-something for gas for the longest time until, like, maybe the last year, which is upsetting.”
Las Vegas resident Jonathan Castillo pumped his gas at a 7-Eleven where a gallon of unleaded is under $5. The lower prices have eased his mind, especially given he has a regular commute to work.
“It does feel like a big relief,” he said. “A few cents or a dollar is not really much, but if you’re having a daily commute, driving to places, it feels like a big relief.”
Castillo put $25 in his tank Wednesday, giving him more gas than the same dollar amount would buy a month ago
The earlier record-breaking numbers the U.S. has seen and continues to see regarding gas prices are related to historical events happening nationally and internationally.
“We have never really had a war like the Ukraine war that impacted supply so significantly by taking Russia off the market,” said Treanor. “At the same time, we have a post-pandemic demand. People who are now free to travel and free to move or go back to work or businesses that want employees back in the office.”
The two events were “pulling against each other and making prices act very odd,” Treanor said.
Despite gas price volatility, De Haan foresees the Las Vegas average “falling under $5 in just maybe a week or two.”
“I would hope that prices could continue declining for two or three weeks but beyond that,” he added, “The third week from now is when it gets a little bit more hazy.”
Not only are gas prices going down, the price of oil barrels have dropped as well. According to a report released by AAA on July 18, the price of oil barrels is in the mid-90s, “almost at the point where we were at a year ago,” said Treanor.
People on the West Coast will continue to see higher prices than others around the nation because of tight environmental regulations in California oil refineries.
“The West Coast is an extremely notoriously tight market and California refineries, which have a lot of rules and restrictions,” said De Haan on the reason. “The West Coast imports supply to balance out demand. The problem is that when any refinery issue develops, it generally has a major impact on price.”