The national average price for regular unleaded gas fell to $3.990 a gallon on Thursday, according to the American Automobile Association. Gasoline prices peaked at a record $5.02 in June, pinching wallets and causing drivers to buy less fuel in July than they did during the pandemic.

Crude oil reached $139 a barrel; it was at $98 on Thursday. The White House has taken several steps to curb oil prices in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Overall gasoline product supplied, a proxy for demand, is down 6.3% over the last four weeks.

The most recent week of data showed demand picking up from July. Analysts hoped the recent dip in prices would resurrect demand. Consumers interviewed in recent days said that while they were glad to see prices fall, they were still being cautious in terms of purchases. "They're coming down but not near enough," said Kevin Williams, a U.S. gas consumer.

With job growth still strong, demand could rebound in coming months with prices at lower levels. Refining executives on earnings calls in the last week were optimistic about consumption for the rest of 2022. Gasoline futures are down 27% from June highs, while the retail decline is just over 20%.

The U.S. Treasury Department lowered the price of gasoline by 17 cents to 42 cents per gallon. Gasoline prices tend to peak in the summer and drop as driving season wanes. Some states have seen more relief, such as Ohio, where prices are down 27% from the peak.
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