fill 'er up

Gas Prices Drop Below $1 a Gallon (At Least, in One Town in America)


March 20, 2020 Cars By

We don’t talk a whole lot about gasoline here at Gear Patrol. Normally, that’s because it’s a very mature technology that doesn’t see a lot of groundbreaking innovations. Still, gasoline is very much a product, which means it falls smack dab under our umbrella of product journalism. If there’s gas-related news to bring you, we’ll bring it to you.

So we felt compelled to let you know that gas prices in America have dropped below the $1-a-gallon mark — at least, in one town in Kentucky.

As of yesterday morning, WKYC Cleveland reported that a BP station in London, Kentucky, was selling unleaded gasoline for 99¢ per gallon, according to both users of the website GasBuddy and a phone call placed to the station by GasBuddy employees.

Admittedly, you probably won’t see a price quite that low on your local gas station sign anytime soon. GasBuddy reports that the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded currently stands at $2.173, but that varies greatly by region. In California, a gallon of regular averages $3.239, and in GP’s home of New York, it runs $2.443; in Mississippi, though, it’s a lowest-in-the-nation $1.867, followed by Kentucky, where the average is $1.875.

If the national average seems cheap to you, well, that’s because it is. According to GasBuddy, that $2.173 is down 29.2¢ from last month’s average and down 42.9¢ from last year’s. The last time the yearly average was close to this price was 2004, when it averaged $1.923.

Why’s gas so cheap? Well, if you guessed “covid-19,” you’re only partially correct. Yes, the pandemic is causing millions of Americans to work from home and generally drive less, which supply and demand dictates should drive down prices. But the bigger news is actually an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, which has seen the two mega-producers dumping supplies onto the market, driving down the costs. Between those two events and the global economic slowdown, oil prices have slumped precipitously; a barrel is currently worth about $25, down from $53.38 on February 17th.

But while the U.S. is reportedly considering jumping into the fray with Saudi Arabia and Russia to help slow the precipitous fall in oil prices, the continued economic slowdown and lower-than-usual demand from coronavirus-isolated Americans mean it seems quite possible that gas prices may slip further this year. That said, most of us still probably won’t be able to look forward to 99¢ gas.

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Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

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