COVID-19 and ongoing crude oil price war could lower national average to $1.75 per gallon in April

31 March 2020

AAA Gas Price Update: National Pump Price Drops to $1.99 per Gallon,

Cheapest Average in Four Years

COVID-19 and ongoing crude oil price war could lower national average to $1.75 per gallon in April

 

OMAHA, NE. (March 31, 2020) – The national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline dropped below $2 per gallon for the first time in four years, reports AAA, with today’s national average at $1.99.

In Nebraska, the average is ten cents less at $1.89 with the lowest prices found in Thurston county where unleaded averages $1.28 a gallon.

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 plummeted to $20/barrell this week – a closing price not seen since 2002.  During the past month, crude oil has fallen 57 percent in the U.S. commodities market; crude is down 67 percent compared to this time last year.

“AAA expects retail gas prices to keep dropping as cheaper priced crude makes its way through the refining and delivery process, with a strong likelihood that the national average for unleaded fuel will fall to $1.75 a gallon before the end of April,” said Rose White, public affairs director for AAA-The Auto Club Group. 

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.

With many people staying home due to the virus, and vehicles sitting idle, problems can develop with the vehicle’s tires, fuel system and electrical system if the vehicle remains parked for a long period.  To help prevent these issues, AAA suggests that motorists drive their vehicle for a few miles each week, even if it’s just a short ride around the neighborhood. 

For those motorists who are not driving, AAA offers these car care tips for longer-than-expected parked vehicles:

  • Battery Boost. If possible, use a Battery Tender or other maintenance-type battery charger to keep the battery at a full state of charge and prevent deterioration. The Battery Tender should remain connected to the stored vehicle.
  • Fuel Stabilizer. If gas is going to sit in the vehicle’s tank for more than a few months, particularly gasoline that contains ethanol, AAA recommends using a treatment designed for fuel stabilization such as STA-BIL®.  Anyone can do this, and it is as simple as fueling up a vehicle. Fill the gas tank to help minimize condensation and drive the car for five to ten miles to ensure that the stabilized fuel circulates throughout the fuel system.
  • Tire Pressure. Add 10 psi of pressure to each tire to help prevent flat spots from forming on the tires. This occurs when the area of the tire touching the ground becomes rigid due to sitting in one position for an extended period. You can also move the vehicle periodically.
  • Windshield Wiper Placement. Prop up the wiper arms so the blades are off the windshield and won’t get stuck to the glass.
  • No Parking Brake. Don’t use the parking brake when storing the vehicle. The brake could become frozen, and the brake pads could rust to the rotors, or brake shoes could distort the drums. With an automatic transmission, simply place the vehicle in park. If the car has a manual transmission, put it in first or reverse gear and use wheel chocks to help hold the vehicle in place.

For more information on fuel prices or automotive tips, visit www.newsroom.AAA.com.

AAA provides more than 60 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and more than 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

 

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