Gas prices March 2020

Gas prices recently dropped below $2 per gallon at many Kankakee County stations. Per-gallon prices could drop to or even below $1 per gallon in coming weeks, an industry expert said.

Could 99-cent-per-gallon gasoline be in our future?

That’s correct. Gas costs may drop below $1 per gallon, according to a petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.

Such a thought would have been considered unthinkable just weeks ago. We are, indeed, in strange times.

While driving has significantly declined during these “stay at home” days, many people may not have noticed per-gallon gas costs have substantially fallen.

As of March 23, Illinois gas prices are at their lowest point since 2016.

And per-gallon prices are expected to drop between 35-75 cents in coming weeks, on a statewide level.

“Gas stations are passing along the drop, putting 99 cents per gallon prices as a strong possibility for perhaps many more stations than we previously anticipated,” said Patrick DeHaan, petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. “This is truly an unprecedented turn of events.”

Regarding Kankakee County, DeHaan said gas could drop 40-60 cents a gallon in coming weeks, but that depends on what happens in regards to the stay-at-home order.

“When people start to drive en masse again, that’s when prices will likely rise. It’s nice gas prices are lower now, but the only benefit many people are getting from it is watching the prices go lower from their living room windows,” he said. “All things considered, this is remarkable.”

DeHaan said due to the gas tax in Illinois, widespread prices at or below $1 per gallon are not as likely here as it may be in other Midwestern states such as Ohio, Michigan or Indiana.

The $2.04 mark on March 23 for statewide gas, per data provided by GasBuddy.com, is a price only surpassed by the $2.02 state average of 2016. In 2016, the average national gas price was $1.99.

DeHaan noted gas prices have fallen 13.5 cents per gallon in the past week, per the survey of 4,378 stations across the country. Gas prices in Illinois are 52.3 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and stand 63.3 cents per gallon lower than one year ago.

Illinois gas prices range from a low of $1.28 per gallon to a high of $3.19.

Nationally, gas has fallen 12.8 cents per gallon in the past week, to an average of $2.08 as of March 23. The national average is down 38.5 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands at 54.7 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

In Kankakee County, two gas stations — Gulf, 1184 N. Convent Ave., and Kroger, 633 E. Armour Road, both in Bourbonnais — had gas at $1.60 per gallon as of Wednesday.

“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 35-75 cents per gallon drop at most stations in the weeks ahead,” DeHaan said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a collapse in prices, even including the Great Recession. What we’re witnessing is easily going to do down as the great collapse in oil demand and 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.”

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