Gas prices slowly start to increase as more places start reopening

By Lindsey Boetsch
6:55 PM, May 18, 2020

Gas prices have been remarkably cheap over the past few weeks, but we’re slowly starting to see them increase. The national average jumped 6 cents last week, but it is still only $1.87 a gallon.

If you’ve ventured out of your house in the past few weeks, you’ve likely noticed how cheap gas prices are. In fact, more than 75 percent of gas stations across the country have gas for less than $1.99 a gallon.

AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano says gas prices are so low right now for two reasons: crude oil prices and demand.

“Typically, crude oil and demand are very high this time of year,” she explained. “Though, given what’s happening with COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions and limitations, both are extremely low.”

Casselano says crude oil is typically $50 to $70 a barrel. Right now, it’s about $20. And as those stay-at-home orders are lifted, and businesses start opening again, there will likely be an increase in demand.

“Those states that are seeing the fluctuation and increases, those states are mostly states where you’re seeing more businesses opening. Social distancing recommendations still in line, but more businesses opening and people venturing out,” said Casselano.

Some of those areas are the Great Lakes region and the south and southeast. Casselano says the price of gas and how fast it rises will depend on demand. However, she doesn’t expect the prices to make a dramatic jump.

“In the past few weeks, they’ve been about 5 million barrels a day. This time of the year, it’s usually high eights, nine million barrels a day and only increasing, because it’s summer and Memorial Day is around the corner and people are going to take their road trips,” said Casselano.

She says the national average is still a dollar cheaper than it was a year ago, and she doesn’t expect it to completely close that gap any time soon.