WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — After gas prices reached all-time highs, consumers are feeling relief at the pump as the national average fell under $4 per gallon for the first time in five months.
It’s a significant drop that could bring relief to many Americans struggling with the skyrocketing cost of essentials including affordable housing and groceries.
The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded was $3.99 on Thursday, according to AAA. The shopping app GasBuddy reported that the national average was already down to $3.98 on Wednesday.
The nationwide average for gas hasn’t been under $4 since early March. Prices topped out at $5.02 a gallon on June 14, according to AAA. They declined slowly the rest of June, then began dropping more rapidly.
Motorists in California and Hawaii are still paying above $5, and other states in the West are paying close to that. The cheapest gas is in Texas and several other states in the South and Midwest.
A year ago, the nationwide average price was around $3.20 a gallon.
Falling prices for gas, airline tickets and clothes are giving consumers a bit of relief, although inflation is still close to a four-decade high. Food prices also remained very high, almost 11% higher than last year and rising at the fastest pace since May 1979.
“I just want to say a number: zero. Today, we received news that our economy had zero percent inflation in the month of July. Zero percent,” Biden said.
That comment led to backlash from some Republicans, who noted how many Americans continue to experience hardship with inflation.
Sen. Ted Cruz called it “ridiculous BS from the White House,” in a tweet.
U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx tweeted “8.5% ≠ 0,” referring to the general CPI yearly increase for July.
Republicans blame President Joe Biden for the high gasoline prices, seizing on his decisions to cancel a permit for a major pipeline and suspend new oil and gas leases on federal lands.
Prices at the pump are likely to be a major issue heading into the midterm elections in November.
Meanwhile, inflation remains in the spotlight in the nation’s capital with a possible vote happening on the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act as soon as Friday in the House. As of now, all signs point to the House passing the legislation. It would provide hundreds of millions of dollars to fight climate change and lower health care costs if approved.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.