National gas prices are lower because of coronavirus fears

National gas prices are lower right now, thanks to coronavirus fears


While the coronavirus upends travel and wallops stocks, the widespread respiratory illness has also led to cheaper prices at the pump.

Over the past three weeks, when China largely shut down and fewer people traveled, gas prices in the USA have fallen 6 cents per gallon, according to data compiled by the fuel price platform GasBuddy. 

As of Wednesday, the national average sits at $2.41, which is $1.70 less than the highest recorded average of $4.11 set in July 2008. A gallon of gas costs less than $2 at more than 3,000 gas stations in the USA, according to GasBuddy. 

The app’s senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said the spreading respiratory illness triggered a drop in global demand that could benefit domestic motorists for weeks to come.

“Tens of thousands of flights have been canceled, people have been told to stay from school and work, and now that’s spreading,” DeHaan said. “What you’re seeing is a reduction in oil demand globally that has pushed the price of oil down.”

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The lower price of crude oil, which gasoline is made from, translates into lower prices at the pump. 

A gallon of gas costs less than $2 at thousands of U.S. gas stations.

Southern states such as Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas pay the least for gas: Per gallon averages hover around $2.01. The West Coast pays the most. The average in California and Washington sits just above $3.

Distance from supply, taxes and retail competition contribute to regional price differences. Per gallon prices have fallen in nearly every state, according to Gasbuddy.

There are caveats that can send gas prices in the other direction.


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