By Shereen Siewert

Monday’s national average price for a gallon of gas is down for the first time in months, according to AAA, as increased supply and weaker demand in Europe balance strong demand in the U.S.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.86, down 2 cents from last week. At that price, the national average has decreased week-over-week for the first time since November.

In Wisconsin, gas is slightly less expensive, averaging $2.68 per gallon. Wausau prices are even lower, ranging from $2.53 to $2.62, according to GasBuddy. One year ago, the average price of gas was $2.02 per gallon.

Since last Monday, 45 states also saw their averages decrease or no change at the pump.

“Growing stock levels and cheaper crude oil prices are putting downward pressure on pump prices for the majority of motorists,” said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson. “These are positive signs that less expensive gas prices could be around the corner, but not enough to indicate a steady trend just yet.”

Demand is one factor influencing gas prices, AAA reports. If demand continues to increase, prices could follow. Though gasoline stocks saw a moderate increase over the past week, refinery use hit 82 percent. That indicates a potentially larger build in stocks this week, a factor that could help keep pump prices in check.

While a few cents lower on the week, the national gas price average is 15 cents more expensive on the month and 84 cents more expensive on the year. Those gaps, as well as stock levels and demand readings, are likely to widen in coming weeks as this time last year gas prices and related factors started to take a sharp turn due to the pandemic.

“After the feverish rise in gas prices to start the year, increases have largely tapered off and we’re now seeing decreasing prices in most areas of the country, thanks to oil prices that have moderated for the time being,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

But warmer weather could bring higher gas prices.

Historically, retail gasoline prices tend to gradually rise in the spring and peak in late summer when people drive more frequently, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Gasoline prices are generally lower in winter months, the EIA reports.