Oil prices and gas prices continue to fall in early March

Photo (c) Artsanova - Getty Images

This time of year is when prices normally start to rise

Gasoline prices followed oil prices lower this week as mounting fears of the economic fallout from COVID-19, the coronavirus, is causing a reduction in demand.

The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows that the national average price of regular gas is $2.40 a gallon, six cents less than a week ago. More importantly, the average price is now three cents a gallon cheaper than at this time last year, the first time in months that this year’s price is less than last year’s. The average price of premium gas is $3.01 a gallon, five cents less than last Friday. The average price of diesel fuel is $2.89, three cents lower than a week ago.

At this time of year, gas prices normally start going up because refineries begin to perform maintenance and are switching over to producing more expensive summer blends of fuel.

But refineries are paying less for crude oil, with the price of West Texas oil selling for much less than $50 a barrel. AAA says robust gasoline supplies in the U.S. are also sending fuel prices lower. But Jeanette Casselano, an AAA spokesperson, says the low prices really can’t last.

“Maintenance season and the upcoming switchover to summer blend could break the downward trend in coming weeks, but we are also watching the impact of the coronavirus and what that could do to demand,” she said.

Several states in the Southeast saw dramatic price declines in the last week. The statewide average is down seven cents a gallon in South Carolina and six cents a gallon in Texas.

The states with the most expensive regular gas

These states currently have the highest prices for regular gas, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Survey:

  • Hawaii ($3.57)

  • California ($3.46)

  • Washington ($3.08)

  • Oregon ($2.97) 

  • Alaska ($2.93)

  • Nevada ($2.89)

  • Arizona ($2.74)

  • Pennsylvania ($2.61)

  • New York ($2.58) 

  • Idaho ($2.55)

The states with the cheapest regular gas

The survey found these states currently have the lowest prices for regular gas:

  • Texas ($2.09)

  • Mississippi ($2.10)

  • Louisiana ($2.12)

  • Missouri ($2.13)

  • Alabama ($2.14)

  • Arkansas ($2.15)

  • South Carolina ($2.13)

  • Oklahoma ($2.13)

  • Kansas ($2.18)

  • Virginia ($2.18)

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