Gasoline prices finally dropped Tuesday after 27 straight days of increases.
The nationwide average for regular unleaded slipped less than a penny to $3.764 per gallon. That ended a streak of price hikes that began on Feb. 8. Pump prices rose by more than 28 cents per gallon in that period, making gasoline the most expensive ever for this time of year.
Also Tuesday, oil fell to its lowest price in about two weeks, while the price of natural gas remained near a 10-year low.
The relief at the pump should be temporary. Experts predict that gasoline prices will rise over the next several weeks. The Oil Price Information Service says the nationwide average could peak at $4.25 per gallon in late April, beating the record high of $4.11 per gallon set in July 2008. That will likely keep gas prices front and center in the presidential campaign and economists will argue their impact on the U.S. economy.
Oil prices fell Tuesday after Iran agreed to let international nuclear inspectors into its facilities. The standoff between Western powers and Iran over that country’s nuclear program had driven oil’s rise. The announcement eased concerns about a possible disruption to oil supplies around the globe.