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Oil Prices Decline, But Gasoline May Take Weeks To Catch Up

In Los Angeles, gas cost more than $5 a gallon last week. In the rest of the country, gas is a relative bargain at just over $4 a gallon.
Frederic J. Brown
/
AFP via Getty Images
In Los Angeles, gas cost more than $5 a gallon last week. In the rest of the country, gas is a relative bargain at just over $4 a gallon.

The price of oil has dropped in the past few days, but it may take a while for drivers to see a difference at the pump.

After peaking at nearly $124 a barrel on Tuesday, oil settled Thursday at nearly $20 lower.

Meanwhile, the national average price of regular, unleaded gasoline surged to $4.31 a gallon Thursday, and $4.11 in West Virginia, according to AAA. Prices in the Eastern Panhandle are higher than they are in the rest of the state.

Traci Nelson, president of the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association, said it may take a few weeks for motorists to notice a difference.

“Whatever the price of crude is, it usually takes about two weeks for it to go down on the street,” she said.

The price of gasoline rose last year with increased demand. Prices plunged during 2020 with lower demand driven by coronavirus shutdowns.

Now, Russia’s war in Ukraine is causing further instability in the global oil market, and the White House has ordered a ban on Russian oil imports.

While prices may come down, industry analysts say that drivers should expect to pay $4 a gallon for the rest of the year.

Energy & Environment Reporter, ctate@wvpublic.org, 202-679-8470, @tatecurtis

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