The Washington Post

Pump prices end streak of declines

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A 99-day run of falling gasoline prices — a streak that gave consumers a glimmer of hope that red-hot inflation might be cooling — has ended, with pump prices still much higher than a year ago.

The nationwide average price for a gallon ticked up less than a penny Wednesday, to $3.68 a gallon, according to AAA. That’s down from the record $5.02 average in mid-june.

The question now is whether Wednesday’s increase is a blip or the precursor to the return of higher prices. The 14-week decline in prices was the longest streak since 2015.

Gasoline prices mostly reflect trends in global oil prices, and crude — both the internatio­nal Brent and the U.S. benchmark — have been slumping since mid-June on growing fears of a global recession.

Many energy analysts believe that prices are more likely to rise than fall in the next few months.

However, changes in sentiment about the economy, Russia’s war against Ukraine and even hurricane season — always a threat to disrupt refineries along the Gulf Coast — make prediction­s uncertain.

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