Global Coronavirus Worries Trigger Lower U.S. Gas Prices

COVID-19 has dented global travel and chipped away at fuel demand.

March 06, 2020

BOSTON—Worldwide concerns about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have shuttered China manufacturing, upended travel and beaten down stocks, and the outbreak also has triggered lower prices at the pump, USA Today reports. During the past three weeks, U.S. gasoline prices have declined six cents per gallon, according to GasBuddy.

“Tens of thousands of flights have been canceled, people have been told to stay [home] from school and work, and now that’s spreading,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy’s senior petroleum analyst. “What you’re seeing is a reduction in oil demand globally that has pushed the price of oil down.”

With crude oil prices lower and global demand for fuel dropping, U.S. motorists could see lower prices at the pump for weeks. Currently, southern states like Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana have the lowest pump prices, while the West Coast states pay the most. However, GasBuddy has found that per-gallon prices have fallen in nearly all 50 states.

DeHaan pointed out that geopolitics and the coming change to summer blends could mean a rise in prices. OPEC will likely think about cutting production to raise prices. “If [coronavirus] does continue to spread and the overall mood remains negative, then gas prices will continue to decline,” he said. “Gas prices are very much tied to the future of coronavirus.”

For more information on COVID-19, visit the NACS Coronavirus Resources page.