Has the omicron COVID-19 variant impacted gas prices?

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Gas prices dipped slightly this week even after concerns about the omicron variant of the coronavirus began to rise. 

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. is now $3.39, down one penny from last week, according to AAA. 

Although it's only a slight dip, it's still offering consumers who have been facing rising prices at pumps across the nation "a little break," AAA said. 

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Compared to a year ago, prices are up by $1.27 per gallon. 

On Monday, the World Health Organization warned that the global risk from the omicron variant is "very high" based on the early evidence, saying the mutated coronavirus could lead to surges with "severe consequences."

A man fuels a car at a gas station in New York on Oct. 13, 2021.  (Xinhua via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The assessment from the U.N. health agency, contained in a technical paper issued to member states, amounted to the WHO’s strongest, most explicit warning yet about the new variant of the virus that was first identified by researchers in South Africa.

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News of the variant temporarily pushed crude oil prices down on Friday. 

"We saw the fear on Friday when oil plummeted 13%," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, told FOX Business. 

However, AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said it's "too soon to tell if fears of a global economic slowdown caused by the omicron variant will push oil prices lower for the long term." 

For now though, "the upward pricing pressure due to tightened supply and high demand seems to have abated, and that will likely result in pump prices stabilizing."   

De Haan projected that gas price declines are likely coming, in part because of the emergence of the COVID-19 variant. 

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Consumers "could be in store for lower prices based on many countries turning back to travel restrictions, limiting oil demand and potentially accelerating the drop in gas prices," De Haan said. 

The markets with the most expensive gas, according to AAA, are still California at $4.71 per gallon, followed by Hawaii ($4.35), Nevada ($3.96) and Washington state ($3.88). 

The least expensive markets are Oklahoma ($2.95), Texas ($2.98) and Arkansas ($3.02). 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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