Welcome Back $1.99 Gas: National Average Falls Due to COVID-19

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GasBuddy reports that the U.S. national average for gasoline has just fallen to $1.99 per gallon, the first time since March 23, 2016. The national average could even dip to $1.49 by mid-April, the lowest since 2004, with potentially hundreds of stations pushing their price to 99 cents per gallon for the first time since the early 2000’s.

Gasoline prices have continuously dropped nationwide since Feb 20, 2020 as the coronavirus crushes the demand for oil and lockdowns reduce driving and keep Americans home. The price drops have been so swift and severe that it could take gas stations weeks to fully pass along the lower prices.

More than half (29) of U.S. states are currently seeing average prices less than $2 per gallon. In the last week, 99 cent prices have shown up at various times in Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Missouri and more could join in the days and weeks ahead. An additional drop of 25-65 cents is possible in most states, while West Coast states including California could see prices drop 50 cents to a dollar per gallon over the next few weeks.

"This is an unprecedented event. We’re experiencing one of the biggest historical collapses in gas prices, including the Great Recession of 2008,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “World demand for oil has plummeted virtually overnight while domestic demand for gasoline continues to fall off a cliff with more states implementing shelter-in-place orders. Prices will continue to fall in the days ahead with currently no end in sight. Motorists need not be in any hurry to fill up, and those who do should be shopping around as prices will continue to race lower. While some lucky Americans may be able to fill for 99 cents per gallon.”

Below $1.99 per Gallon Average in Recent History

2016: The last time the national average has been this low was March 23, 2016, caused by a crash in the oil market. During that period, the national average stayed below $1.99 for nearly three months, from January 2 through March 23, bottoming at $1.66 per gallon on February 14.

2009: The Great Recession pushed the national average below $1.99 per gallon for roughly four months from November 20, 2008 to March 25, 2009, bottoming at $1.59 on December 29, 2008. Prices eventually staged a major recovery in 2010 and stayed high until 2014.