Gas prices come down after yesterday’s tumble in oil prices

There’s good news for drivers who have been feeling the sting of high gas prices: The Associated Press is reporting that analysts have said that gas prices have probably peaked for the season and that the national average could slide to about $3.50 per gallon by next month. Furthermore, prices at the pump fell today for the first time since March.

Until today, gas prices had been steadily rising since unrest in Libya began to unfold and disrupted the North African nation’s oil exports.

What might account for the change? Most likely, it’s yesterday’s steep drop in the price of crude oil. As the Post’s Steven Mufson reported, oil prices tumbled nearly 9 percent Thursday, falling below $100 per barrel.

According to a recent poll by The Washington Post and Pew Research Center, U.S. consumers are divided when it comes to assigning blame for soaring gas prices. Some 30 percent attribute the rise to greed, speculation and the actions of oil companies, while 19 percent say the disturbances in the Middle East and North Africa are responsible. Still others say it’s the sagging economy or policy decisions.

Another poll published last week by the The Washington Post and ABC News revealed how these prices are affecting motorists’ driving habits. Almost 60 percent of respondents said they were driving less.

What about you? Have you changed your driving habits or increased your reliance on public transportation? Have you tweaked your vacation plans or sprung for a more fuel-efficient ride? Tell us about it here or in the comments section below.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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