AAA: Gas prices now cheapest in years

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CINCINNATI – The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline dropped below $2 per gallon for the first time in four years. Tuesday’s national gas price average is $1.99.

Here in Ohio the average is $1.63 with motorists able to find gas for less than $2.00/gallon at 99% of gas stations. AAA expects gas prices to push cheaper by at least another quarter in April.

The decline is due to COVID-19’s chilling effect on the global economy and the crude oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Crude has plummeted to $20/bbl – a closing price not seen since 2002. For the last 52 weeks, crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) has averaged $56/bbl with the national pump price average at $2.63.

The last time gas prices dropped lower than $2.00 in Ohio was January 31, 2016 at $1.63/gallon.

The last time gas prices dropped lower than $2.00 in the Cincinnati tri-state area was November 16, 2016 at $1.98/gallon.

“AAA expects gas prices to keep dropping as cheap crude combines with the realities of people are staying home and less demand for gas,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokesperson. “While demand is diminishing, COVID-19 is not impacting the U.S. gasoline supply.”

In fact, the U.S. has an unusual amount of winter-blend gasoline still available for this time of year. This caused the Environmental Protection Agency to extend the sale of winter-blend past the May 1 deadline to May 20. The agency said they would continue to monitor and may extend the waiver again.

“The EPA’s extension of the winter-blend gasoline waiver will contribute to sustained lower prices, especially as U.S. gasoline demand readings look more like winter-driving season than spring,” added Moore.

AAA forecasts that until crude oil prices and gasoline demand increase, cheaper gas prices are here for the foreseeable future.

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