PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– The Coronavirus is being blamed for low oil prices as fewer people want to travel. On top of that, a price war launched today by Saudi Arabia sent prices falling further.
Gas prices in Illinois are among the largest decline per gallon within the last week. According to AAA, Illinoisans are seeing an 11 cent decrease in gas, a trend continuing as COVID-19 continues to spread.
“We are anticipating seeing a trend downward and the coronavirus is definitely playing a role in that,” said AAA spokesperson, Molly Hart.
Due to the virus, crude oil demand is down because people aren’t traveling and leaving their homes as much. OPEC and non-OPEC countries haven’t been able to agree to reduce production to match demand. Global oil prices per barrel are now the lowest they’ve been in nearly four years.
“When the global markets opened Sunday night, West Texas Intermediate Oil prices dipped below $30 a barrel for the first time since 2016,” Hart said.
Financial planner, Rockie Zeigler says the oil market isn’t likely to rebound quickly.
“I do think it’s going to continue to trickle downward–so yeah I would expect that over the next 30 days for sure, but it takes a little bit for when oil rises or drops to trickle down to gas prices,” Zeigler said.
Currently, gas prices in Peoria are about $2.47 a gallon and in the twin cities, the average sits at $2.11 per gallon. Drivers, we spoke to the price and COVID-19 won’t necessarily affect the time they drive.
“I think I’ll still probably drive the same. I don’t think it’ll affect my driving decisions,” said Morton resident, Sarah Shrock.
Sarah Shrock said she first saw cheaper prices Sunday night.
“I did notice yesterday when I drove back from the Illinois game that they were quite low in Bloomington, but not enough to stop at 10 p.m,” Shrock said.
Although she didn’t stop to fill up, she says it’s never a bad thing to pay less.
“I mean it’s nice to have a little relief.”
AAA also says the downward trend is expected to continue through the end of the winter driving season amid coronavirus concerns.
Zeigler also said the downward trend in gas prices will help trucking companies and us as consumers but will negatively affect major oil companies and oil refinery companies.