Gas prices lowest in four years, AAA reports

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline dropped below $2 per gallon for the first time in four years, the American Automobile Association reported March 31.

Last week's national gas price average was $1.99 compared to the Delaware average of $1.91.

AAA expected gas prices to continue falling by at least 25 cents this month, but that was before the announcement that Saudi Arabia and Russia may cut oil production in an effort to raise prices, according to the business channel CNBC.

The decline in gas prices has been due not only to COVID-19’s chilling effect on the global economy, but also to the crude oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia that has kept supplies high while prices have been dropping.

The price of a barrel of oil plummeted to $20 as of AAA's report March  31 – a closing price not seen since 2002.

Over the past year, crude oil in the West Texas Intermediate market has averaged $56 per barrel with the national gasoline price average at $2.63.

Prices statewide vs. prices in Smyrna

Delaware's average price for gasoline March 31 of $1.91 per gallon compares to $2.02 the previous week, $2.33 the previous month and $2.50 this time one year ago.

In Smyrna, here were the prices for a gallon of regular unleaded gas at 3:30 p.m. April 2:

Gas N Go, Route 13 at Monrovia Avenue, $1.79

Shell, Route 13 at Duck Creek Road, $1.84

Valero, Route 13 at Joe Goldsborough Road, $1.85

Acme, Glenwood Avenue, $1.87

Valero, Route 13 and Glenwood Avenue, $1.87

Royal Farms, Route 13 and Glenwood Avenue, $1.87

Wawa, Route 13 at south Smyrna Route 1 entrance/exit, $1.87

Forecast for continued declines

“AAA expects gas prices to keep dropping as cheap crude combines with the realities of people are staying home and less demand for gas,” said Ken Grant, public and government affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “While demand is diminishing, COVID-19 is not impacting the U.S. gasoline supply.”

In fact, the U.S. has an unusual amount of winter-blend gasoline still available for this time of year. This caused the Environmental Protection Agency to extend the sale of winter-blend past the May 1 deadline to May 20. The agency said they would continue to monitor and may extend the waiver again.

“The EPA’s extension of the winter-blend gasoline waiver will contribute to sustained lower prices, especially as U.S. gasoline demand readings look more like winter-driving season than spring,” added Grant.

Again, this AAA report was sent before the announcement that Saudi Arabia and Russia may cut their production of oil.