Gas prices down across Triangle, but for how long?

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- You may notice a slight difference when you head to the pumps this week. Gas prices for the Triangle area are going down; the question is for how long.

All across the Triangle on Monday, ABC11 crews saw gas prices as low as $3.64 per gallon, which is nearly 60 cents lower than a month ago when gas price averaged around $4.21 per gallon.

Patrick De Haan with Gas Buddy said the decline is in part because of COVID-19 surging in other countries.

"We've continued to see a surge in COVID cases in China, which is one of the world's largest oil consumers. And when we see COVID cases, surge generally means lock downs and restrictions on motorists, and reduces oil consumption. And so oil prices this morning dipped all the way down to as low as $94 a barrel," said De Haan.

De Haan said the conflict in Ukraine could also affect the prices again, if the situation escalates.

AAA reports new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), that shows total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 2 million bbl last week. Gasoline demand increased slightly to 8.56 million b/d. The fluctuating oil price continues to be the main factor influencing pump prices. Pump prices will likely face downward pressure if oil prices remain below $100 per barrel. Overall crude prices declined last week following EIA's weekly report, which showed U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 2.4 million bbl. AAA also noted in their report, crude prices could decline further if the EIA's next report shows another increase in total domestic supply.

"There's a potential that we've already seen the highest price that we'll see for this year. And that could have happened here in the last month as prices surged. So low prices may stick around," said De Haan.

If that is the case, De Haan offered some advice to help you at the pump.

"The longer you can push your fill up later this week, the more prices will be a little bit lower. So don't be in a rush to fill up because now the trend is for falling prices. And when you do need to fill up shop around because even in Raleigh today, some of the lowest prices are in the $3.40s,"he said.

De Haan said some economist are anticipating a recession to come within the year which would again change gas prices and emphasized this is a situation they are keeping a close eye on as the world continues to change
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