PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – For the first time since February, the Oregon average price for regular unleaded gas has dropped below $4 a gallon, according to AAA. 

It’s good news for many Oregonians who are preparing to travel for the holidays. 

The travel company AAA said Tuesday it’s not just Oregon’s gas prices that are falling, the national average has also been in decline. In fact, the national average price of regular unleaded gas is lower than it was a year ago. 

Oregon’s gas is not cheaper than it was in November 2021. 

As of Tuesday, Dec. 13, AAA said Oregon’s average gas price for regular unleaded was $3.981. A year ago, it was $3.785. 

The national average on Tuesday was $3.245 and a year ago it was $3.330. 

While Oregon’s average gas price might not be below its 2021 level, it’s certainly an improvement from a week ago when the average price was $4.160. 

AAA said the lower gas prices are a result of lower crude oil prices, lackluster demand for gas and growing gasoline stocks. The company expects Oregon and all other states except Alaska, Hawaii and Nevada will see gasoline prices continue to drop in the coming weeks. 

“The seasonal pattern of less driving due to shorter days and winter weather along with lower crude oil prices are causing pump prices to fall. AAA expects the national average will drop below $3 a gallon in the coming weeks,” said Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. 

In December, crude oil fell below $72 per barrel. In October, crude oil prices ranged between $82 and $92 per barrel. In June, crude oil climbed as high as $122.11 per barrel. 

The prices rose dramatically leading up to and in the first few months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, AAA said. Russia is one of the top oil producers in the world and its involvement in war causes market volatility. Sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and other western countries also tightened global oil supplies. 

Oregon’s average gas price is currently the fifth highest in the U.S., compared to other states. Hawaii is the state with the most expensive gas in the nation. Its current average is $5.14 per gallon. 

In the last week, diesel prices have also dropped 19 cents in Oregon to $5.09 per gallon. Diesel prices reached a record high in Oregon on July 3 at $6.47.