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Gas prices are now lower than before Russia's invasion of Ukraine

( CBS )

Americans are now paying less for gasoline than they did before Russia invaded Ukraine in February as fuel prices continue to drop amid slowing demand across the globe.


The average price for a gallon of gas is now $3.47, or less than the average $3.54 per gallon that motorists paid the week of February 21, when Russia began its military campaign in Ukraine, according to data from AAA.



Russia's invasion of Ukraine contributed to a sharp spike in gas prices earlier this year, pushing prices at the pump to an all-time high of $5.02 a gallon on June 14. The combination of high gas prices with rising costs for everything from food to automobiles juiced inflation to a 40-year high in 2022, eroding many Americans' purchasing power and pinching their wallets.


But gas prices have fallen sharply in recent weeks amid a slowdown in demand for the commodity, as well as fears about economic shutdowns across the globe, according to AAA. China, for instance, continues to rely on shutdowns to contain COVID outbreaks, although recent protests in that country have prompted some signals that it may shift from its "zero-COVID" policies.


Gas prices may have more room to fall in the coming weeks, according to GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan. Prices are dropping "under heavy selling pressure as China sees protests for its zero-Covid policies, shut downs of major cities, and U.S. demand comes under seasonal pressure," he noted in a November 28 blog post.


"It's entirely possible the national average price of gasoline could fall under $3 per gallon by Christmas, which would be a huge gift to unwrap for motorists after a dizzying year at the pump," he added.


The dip in gas prices was touted by the Biden administration, which on Wednesday tweeted that the decline is "adding up to real savings for American families."



Still, prices remain higher than they were a year earlier — just barely. On December 1, 2021, motorists paid $3.39 a gallon on average at the pump, according to AAA. That's only about 2.4% less than the average cost at the pump today.

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