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SAN DIEGO – Prices at the pump in San Diego are starting to drop as concerns over the new omicron COVID-19 variant continue to spread.

The average price for a regular gallon of gas in San Diego was $4.64 on Monday, according to AAA Southern California. It’s down three cents from last week, which Univerity of San Diego economics professor Alan Gin said can add up fairly quickly.

“For every one cent that the price a gallon of gas changes, that is one million dollars in the San Diego economy a month,” Gin said.

According to Gin, gas prices have fallen because concern about the new variant has oil markets worried.

“The oil markets were worried that this new variant would cause a slowdown in economic activity across the world like COVID did when it first hit,” he said.

As a result, the price for a barrel of oil, which is used in gasoline, dropped 15 to 20 percent, going from around $80 a barrel to about $70.

Gin said prices at the pump likely will go down from here since the price of oil hit its peak. 

“I think gas prices are going to continue to drop as we go into 2022,” he said.

AAA Southern California said the concern with the omicron variant will also likely mean more cars on the road for holiday travel this year. 

“People just feel like they have more control over the situation when they’re in their own vehicle with their own family,” said Doug Shupe with AAA Southern California.