Rose White, spokeswoman for AAA-Iowa, says prices have been falling during the coronavirus pandemic on a state and national level, with the country’s average gas price now at a $1.77. “But in Iowa, it’s 30-cents lower at $1.47, in fact, it’s down about 36-cents in Iowa just during the past month alone,” White says. “If we compare it to a year ago, it’s down $1.27, meaning, every time a motorist fills their tank, they’re saving about $19.”
Last week, crude oil trading was actually in negative numbers, though it’s rebounded some since then. “Crude is currently trading at about $12.89 a barrel, but that is still very far below profit levels,” White says, “and so we are hearing about the shutdown of some operations.”
Some refineries are also shutting down because there’s no place left to store the fuel they’d be making. While some businesses in 77 Iowa counties are reopening on Friday, White predicts gas prices will remain low for a while. “We’re actually anticipating further erosion of prices at the pumps,” White says. “We’re expecting the national average to fall to probably about $1.65 before they start rebounding any because of the production cuts.”
Gas prices in Iowa’s metro areas range from the cheapest, at a $1.25 in Davenport, to the most expensive, a $1.68 in Council Bluffs. Iowa’s gas prices are among the ten cheapest in the U.S.
(Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this report.)