Falling prices for crude oil driven by fears from the global COVID-19 outbreak has led to sharp declines in gasoline prices.
AAA reported for the week beginning March 9 the national gas price average fell five cents from last week’s average and is five cents cheaper than four weeks ago. The national average price for self-serve unleaded nationally on March 10 fell to $2.36.
Indiana saw the largest decline in statewide average gas prices nationally, AAA said. The average price dropped 12 cents and as of March 10, the state’s average price was $2.14.
“For the third week, U.S. gasoline stocks decreased while demand increased,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Generally, growing demand amid declining stocks causes increases at the pump, but crude oil prices have dipped to four-year lows, signaling spring could be cheaper at the pump.”
When the global oil markets opened March 8, West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices dipped below $30 per barrel for the first time since 2016.
AAA said the market plunge is in response to a lack of agreement between Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC countries to cut production. The trend of pump prices facing downward pressure is likely to continue through the end of the winter driving season if crude remains cheap, especially amid concerns about the coronavirus, AAA said.
As of March 11 there were 10 confirmed cases of people with the coronavirus in Indiana. Those cases are in Boone, Adams, Marion, Hendricks, Howard, Johnson and Noble counties.
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration launched a website, which provides daily updates and status of cases in Indiana.