Spring has sprung with gas demand surging as motorists took advantage of better driving weather. But fears of a recession caused global oil prices to hover near $70 a barrel, mitigating a rise in gas prices.

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline as of March 23 drifted lower since the week before by three cents to hit $3.43.

“We may be seeing a return to seasonal trends in demand with warmer weather and longer days,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “But waffling oil prices could mitigate any increase at the pump for now.”

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand increased from 8.59 million to 8.96 million b/d over the same week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks decreased significantly by 6.4 million bbl to 229.6 million bbl. Increasing demand amid tighter supply would typically push pump prices higher; however, recent lower oil prices have pushed prices down.

The March 23 national average of $3.43 is four cents more than a month ago but 80 cents less than a year ago.

Since March 16, these 10 states have seen the largest decreases in their averages: Colorado (-17 cents), Delaware (-13 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Michigan (-8 cents), Nevada (-8 cents), Nebraska (-7 cents), New Jersey (-7 cents), Indiana (-7 cents), Utah (-6 cents) and California (-6 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($2.98), Oklahoma ($3.00), Arkansas ($3.03), Missouri ($3.03), Kansas ($3.04), Texas ($3.06), Louisiana ($3.07), Alabama ($3.09), South Carolina ($3.13) and Tennessee ($3.13).

Source: AAA

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