COVID-19, ongoing crude oil price war could lower prices to $1.75 per gallon in April
By AAA of Western and Central New York
The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has dropped below $2 per gallon for the first time in four years. Today’s national gas price average dipped to $1.997 to be exact. Here in New York, the average is $2.33 with motorists able to find gas for less than $2.25 per gallon at 24% of gas stations. AAA expects gas prices to drop by at least another quarter in April.
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 has plummeted to $20/bbl – a closing price not seen since 2002. For the past 52 weeks, crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) has averaged $56/bbl with the national pump price average at $2.63.
Across the region, Buffalo is at $2.37, Rochester 2.32, and Syracuse at $2.28 per gallon.
“AAA expects gas prices to keep dropping as cheap crude combines with the realities of people are staying home and less demand for gas,” said Elizabeth Carey, AAA spokesperson. “While demand is diminishing, COVID-19 is not impacting the U.S. gasoline supply.”
In fact, 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.
“The EPA’s extension of the winter-blend gasoline waiver will contribute to sustained lower prices, especially as U.S. gasoline demand readings look more like winter-driving season than spring,” Carey added.
AAA forecasts that, until crude oil prices and gasoline demand increase, cheaper gas prices are here for the foreseeable future.
For those motorists who are not driving, AAA offers these car care tips for longer-than-expected parked vehicles:
•Battery Boost. Remember to drive the vehicle twice a week to keep the battery in good working condition. AAA is available to test and replace batteries right in the driveway or the street in most areas.
•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 10 miles to ensure 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.
AAA Car Care Plus and Emergency Road Service are considered essential services and they are open for motorists who need assistance.
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.
AAA members receive discounts at gas stations such as Fastrac, Maple Leaf Market and Shell locations across the country. Learn more here. One can find the lowest prices in the area at http://aaa.opisnet.com/index.aspx. Motorists can always find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Locate gas prices across the country at http://gasprices.aaa.com.
As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.