This is not a cruel April Fools’ Day joke. A gallon of gas on Wednesday morning was going for less than $1 at a few Minnesota gas stations, and prices at some stations in the metro had dropped to $1.06.
Analysts say the lowest gas prices in nearly two decades have been brought on as the demand for oil has dropped precipitously as lockdowns such as Minnesota’s “Stay at Home” directive to combat the coronavirus pandemic has kept drivers off the roads.
“This is an unprecedented event,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, the travel and navigation app that allows motorists to report gas prices. “We’re experiencing one of the biggest historical collapses in gas prices, including the Great Recession of 2008.”
On Wednesday, GasBuddy was reporting 99 cent gas at VP Racing Fuel in Red Wing, Minn. and $1.04 at a nearby Kwik Trip. The Hi Hi Market Gas in Lakeville had the metro area’s lowest price at $1.06 a gallon, according to the app.
Other stations in Lakeville, including the Kwik Trip on Kenwood Trail, posted prices at $1.09 a gallon.
In Minneapolis,the cheapest gas was $1.59 a gallon at a BP station at W. 36th Street and S. Lyndale Avenue. The state average price on Wednesday was $1.82, according to the app.
In recent days a widely circulating Facebook post warns motorists that they can contract COVID-19 by touching gas pump handles. But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said chances of contracting COVID-19 by touching a gas pump handle is low. The CDC maintains that person-to-person contact is the main method of transmission.
“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the way the virus spreads.”
But low gas prices are likely to spread. The national average could fall to $1.49 a gallon by mid-April with hundreds of stations selling gas for 99 cents, according to GasBuddy.