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Gas prices fall below $4 for first time since March

(NEW YORK) — The national average price for a gallon of gas fell below $4 on Thursday for the first time since early March, according to AAA data. The milestone was reached after more than 55 consecutive days of declining prices at the pump.

The national average price for a gallon of gas, which stands at $3.99, has fallen more than 20% since it reached a peak of $5.01 in mid-June, according to data AAA provided to ABC News.

In California, the state with the highest average price, a gallon of gas costs $5.38, though that price has fallen more than 11% over the past month. In Texas, the state with the lowest average gas price, a gallon costs $3.49, AAA data showed.

Despite the recent price dip, the cost of gas remains elevated, standing roughly 25% above a $3.18 national average one year ago, according to AAA data.

Sky-high prices in the summer stemmed from a travel boom that brought more people to the pump, experts told ABC News in late May.

That spike in demand coincided with a shortage of crude oil supply amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which prompted a widespread industry exit from Russia that pushed millions of barrels of oil off the market, the experts said.

The effort to reduce gas prices has made up a key policy priority of President Joe Biden. During a visit to Saudi Arabia last month, Biden urged the major oil producer to increase output as a means of relieving the global supply shortage.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, a Saudi-led group of oil-producing countries, announced along with allies last week that it would modestly increase output next month. But the move fell short of the major increase that the Biden administration had sought.

In March, the U.S. and its allies announced the collective release of 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves over the following months, which sought to alleviate some of the supply shortage and blunt price increases.

The fall in gas prices marks good news for federal policymakers, who have sought to dial back prices across the economy while averting a recession.

The milestone for falling gas prices coincides with a slowdown in price increases for goods overall.

The consumer price index, or CPI, rose 8.5% over the past year as of July, a marked slowdown from 9.1% in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A slowdown in the inflation rate emerged in part because of the decline in the national average price of gasoline, which makes up a key portion of the consumer price index.

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