Gas prices continue to decline
By MMC staff
CENTRAL WISCONSIN – Motorists – especially in Wisconsin – are experiencing sticker shock while filling their gas tanks. Not in a bad way, however.
According to www.GasBuddy.com, a gallon of unleaded gasoline on March 29 in Marshfield ranged $1.74-1.89, while prices sat at $1.64-1.67 in Wisconsin Rapids and $1.63-1.67 in Stevens Point.
Local prices are well below the national average, which sat at $1.96 on March 29. The national average has fallen from $2.43 on Feb. 29 and $2.58 year ago, in March 2019.
Crude oil is the biggest driver of the gas price, according to Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group.
“Crude oil accounts for nearly 60 percent of the retail pump price,” he said. “When crude is cheap, gas prices follow suit.”
Prices usually go up each spring, he said.
“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,” he said. “That is not the case this year. 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.
“Every state in the Great Lakes and Central States saw gas prices decrease by double digits on the week, with Wisconsin experiencing a 24- cent decrease, the largest decrease in the region and country.”
GasBuddy compiles data from more than 11 million individual price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country.
“Gas prices have spent virtually all of March marching lower, with the drop continuing as the coronavirus destroys oil demand globally, leading to the lowest oil prices we’ve seen in 18 years, paving the way for still an additional 35- to 75-cent per gallon drop at most stations in the weeks ahead,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a collapse in prices, even including the Great Recession,” he said. “What we’re witnessing is easily going to go down as the great collapse in oil demand.
“For motorists hurrying to fill up today, they’re wasting their money, as prices will continue to drop in the days ahead,” he said. “Gas stations are passing along the drop several weeks behind and there’s plenty more room for prices to drop, putting 99-cents-per-gallon prices as a strong possibility for perhaps many more stations than we previously anticipated. This is truly an unprecedented turn of events.”