Gasoline prices around the state have been dropping for weeks. The price has been below $2 per gallon for a while now and with oil prices hitting historical lows Monday, people were fueling up.
Among those at the gas pumps was Patrick Culligan filling up for the first time in three weeks.
“Lots of people like me aren’t driving very much or driving very far and nobody’s using much gas,” said Culligan.
With fewer vehicles on the road, oil prices plummeted Monday. Crude oil was trading in the negative. Ending the day, around minus $30 per barrel.
The impact has been felt at the pump. According to AAA, prices were around $2.63 cents a gallon in January. Today they averaged $1.97.
“I’m an essential worker so I have to drive to work so it definitely helps because I have to drive to Norwalk,” said Miranda Cuddy, who drives 47 miles from Cheshire twice a week.
AAA says this is typically the time of year when fuel prices increase. This year though just the opposite. A surplus of oil is far outweighing the demand.
“What that means is, is that as the refineries all of the products that we consume; gasoline, heating oil, diesel fuel, that’s all backing up in the supply chain,” said Chris Herb, president of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association.
According to AAA there is another ramification of the fuel surplus. This is typically the time of year when gas stations transition from winter blend fuels to summer blend fuels. However, because of the fuel surplus the EPA has issued an extension and allow gas stations to do that later this year
Meanwhile, customers are benefiting, many of whom lined up Tuesday at a Southington gas station for gas priced at $1.15 per gallon. Low prices like this may be necessary to keep gas stations’ overall business model churning.
“The soda, the chips, the lottery tickets are all down,” said Herb. “So across the board, profits and sales are down.”
Homeowners are also benefiting. Heating oil is down between 25 and 35 cents a gallon. Some distributors are offering an opportunity to lock this price in for a long-term commitment but warn of further market volatility.
“If they think oil prices are going to go higher, we give them the tools to lock in their prices now,” said John Bowman, owner of F.F. Hitchcock Oil. “If they think it’s going to go lower, we advise them to wait.”