Motorists do not need to rush to the pumps; currently, there is ample U.S. gasoline supply and no disruption to distribution at gas stations

23 March 2020

MADISON, Wis., (March 23, 2020) – With the national average at $2.12, pump prices are, on average, 50-cents less than this time last year. Crude oil is the biggest driver of the less expensive gas prices. In the last week, crude oil prices dropped to $22/bbl – a low not seen since 2002. Crude oil accounts for nearly 60% of the retail pump price. When crude is cheap, gas prices follow suit. 

“Typically gas prices start to trend more expensive at the beginning of spring, especially as motorists get out to enjoy the warmer weather and travel for spring break. That is not the case this year,” said Nick Jarmusz, Director of Public Affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “With Americans urged to stay at home and practice social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus, we are seeing less traffic on the roadways which will ultimately drive down demand, increase gasoline supply and push pump prices less expensive for the foreseeable future.”

Today’s national average ($2.12) is cheaper on the week (-13 cents), month (-35 cents) and year (-50 cents).

Every state in the Great Lakes and Central States saw gas prices decrease by double-digits on the week with Wisconsin experiencing a -24 cents decrease, the largest decrease in the region and country.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports gasoline stocks drew by 1.2 million bbl, dropping the region’s total stock level down to 57 million bbl. Regional refinery utilization slowed, decreasing by 2% to 85%, but ranks as the third highest regional utilization rate in the country for the week ending March 13. Despite two weeks of declining stocks, gas prices are expected to push cheaper in the week ahead due to anticipated dip in demand and falling crude oil prices.




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Click here to view current gasoline price averages


Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI decreased by $2.79 to settle at $22.43. COVID-19 and the crude price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia continue to push crude prices down. Moving into this week, crude prices will continue decreasing as the world grapples with how to contain the ongoing global public health crisis and associated economic challenges that could lead to a global recession. Until Saudi Arabia and Russia end their price standoff and the spread of COVID-19 ceases, domestic crude prices are likely to remain low.

Gas Price Survey Methodology
AAA updates fuel price averages daily at Every day up to 130,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline.

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