US gas prices tick up, ending 99-day streak of lower costs

FILE - Jennifer Quinn fills her SUV at a gas station Monday, March 7, 2022, in Needham, Mass. The average price of regular gasoline nationwide is up slightly Wednesday, Sept. 21, from a day earlier, the first time prices have climbed in 99 days. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

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 just a blip or the precursor to the return of higher prices. The answer matters to motorists and to President Joe Biden, who has taken credit for driving prices lower by releasing millions of barrels of oil from the nation’s reserves.

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 U.S.