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AAA: Kentucky Gas Prices Continue to Plunge; Crude Hits 18-Year Low

AAA: Kentucky Gas Prices Continue to Plunge; Crude Hits 18-Year Low

Bill Stephens

March 23rd, 2020

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Every state in the Great Lakes and Central region saw gas prices decrease by double-digits this week (KY, -17 cents). With the latest declines, gas prices range from as cheap as $1.78 in Ohio to as expensive as $2.16 in Illinois. Moreover, the region is home to some of the cheapest averages in the country. These Great Lakes and Central states land on the top 10 list of cheapest state averages in the country: Ohio ($1.78), Wisconsin ($1.81), Kentucky ($1.82), Indiana ($1.83), Michigan ($1.84) and Missouri ($1.86).

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports gasoline stocks dropped by 1.2 million barrels, bringing the region’s total stock level down to 57 million barrels. Regional refinery utilization slowed to 85%, but ranks as the third highest regional utilization rate in the country for the week ending March 13. Despite two weeks of declining stocks, gas prices are expected to push cheaper in the week ahead due to anticipated dip in demand and falling crude oil prices.

This week’s average prices: Western Central KY Average                            $1.771
Average price during the week of March 16, 2020                                          $1.974
Average price during the week of March 25, 2019                                          $2.518
 
Average prices of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas: 

$1.888        Bowling Green
$1.575        Elizabethtown
$1.911        Louisville
$1.618        Owensboro
$1.863        Paducah

On the National Front
With the national average at $2.12, pump prices are, on average, 50-cents less than this time last year. Across the country, state averages are less than $3/gallon except in Hawaii ($3.47) and California ($3.21). Twenty-nine states have gas price averages at $2.10 or less with Oklahoma ($1.71) carrying the cheapest in the country. 

Crude oil is the biggest driver of the less expensive gas prices. Crude accounts for more than 50% of the retail pump prices, and in the last week, crude oil prices dropped to $22/bbl – a low not seen since 2002. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crude price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia continue to push crude prices down, and until these factors cease, domestic crude prices are likely to remain low.

While 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, it appears that will not yet be the case this year. With Americans urged to stay at home and practice social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus, there is less traffic on the roadways which will ultimately drive down demand, increase gasoline supply and push pump prices less expensive for the foreseeable future.

Motorists can find current gas prices nationwide, statewide, and countywide at GasPrices.AAA.com.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 78 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.  News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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