Since hitting a four-year high near $77 a barrel at the beginning of last month, oil prices have plummeted about 30 percent, briefly sinking below $50 a barrel Thursday. The oil market has been in a slump amid rising stockpiles of U.S. crude and thoughts of slowing global growth and softer demand for the commodity.
The national average for a gallon of gas on Thursday came to $2.51, according to AAA. Drivers in Texas and Missouri were paying just above two bucks a gallon, and motorists paid more than $3.00 a gallon in fives states — California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Alaska, according to AAA.
The national average is likely to briefly dip into the $2.30s, but could range from $2.35 to $2.55 a gallon for the rest of the year, a scenario that could change with next week’s OPEC gathering, DeHaan said.
It remains to be seen whether Russia and Saudi Arabia can reach agreement on a cut in production at the upcoming G20 summit, and then whether any consensus holds into an OPEC meeting next week. Lower gas prices could also help keep a lid on inflation and lessen pressure on the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates, something President Trump has loudly advocated against.