Indiana gas price in limbo thanks to the COVID effect

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("Gas Pump" by Mike Mozart, CC BY 2.0)

Gas price increases have hit a wall and they could drop even more depending on what happens with the coronavirus, says GasBuddy.

For the first time in ten weeks, the national average has fallen.

“The national average is down a penny at $2.17. The average in Indianapolis is down about five cents,” says Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “A rise in coronavirus cases is likely reducing demand enough to the point that it’s showing up nationally.”

When the coronavirus subsides, DeHaan says people are less scared to drive. When the coronavirus is increasing, however, people are staying home and driving less. That is setting up what he calls a “rare trifecta.”

“So far this summer, both holidays (Memorial Day and Independence Day) have seen the lowest prices since 2004, and it’s possible that if things don’t improve much by Labor Day, we could see every summer holiday set multi-year lows,” DeHaan said. “Will we see those new cases reduce? If they do, then demand will rebound. If coronavirus continues to spike, then that will drive gas and oil prices back down.”

DeHaan says prices “in general” are “stuck in limbo.”

“For now, I believe we may see increases stall and some minor increases or decreases until we see a solid change in the coronavirus situation. Some states will see slight increases, some may see slight decreases,” says DeHaan.

In 2019 for example, the average price for gas in Indianapolis was $2.76. It’s just barely over $2 now.

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