Updated April 13, 2020 - 9:16 am
As fewer people are on roads across the nation because of coronavirus-related restrictions, the price of gasoline has steadily dropped along with the traffic volume.
The average price of regular unleaded gasoline in the United States stood at $1.88 as of April 10, compared with an average of $2.76 a year ago, according to AAA.
In contrast, Nevada is among the most expensive states in the country even though the Silver State has seen one of the largest drops in gas prices since April 3, dipping from $2.60 to $2.50 as of April 10. Both prices are down considerably from a year ago, when a gallon of regular unleaded cost an average of $3.13 in Nevada.
Nevada ranks as the fifth most expensive state for gas behind Hawaii ($3.30), California ($2.90), Washington ($2.60) and Oregon ($2.58). Wisconsin had the cheapest gas as of April 10 with an average price of $1.36 per gallon.
Low crude oil prices due to COVID-19 and the lower demand for gas as Americans stay home have helped drive pump prices lower, AAA said.
The Energy Information Administration reported that gas demand plunged to 5.1 million barrels per day as of April 9, down from the previous week’s rate of 6.7 million barrels per day.
Domestic crude prices (West Texas Intermediate) also decreased by $2.33, settling Thursday, last week’s final trading day, at $22.76, the AAA reported.
Additionally, a crude oil production reduction agreement between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major crude oil producers will slash global crude production by 10 million barrels per day for May and June, while 8 million barrels per day could be cut for the remaining months of the year.
Currently, Las Vegas gas prices sit slightly higher than the state’s average at $2.55 per gallon.
The Las Vegas Valley and Nevada are usually among the most expensive areas for gasoline due to their dependency on California for fuel.
“Nevada and Las Vegas typically have some of the highest gasoline prices in the country,” said Sergio Avila, spokesman for AAA Nevada. “The main reason is Las Vegas gets most of its gasoline from California, where drivers typically pay the highest price for gasoline in the country. That higher cost plus the cost of transporting the fuel and about 50 cents per gallon in taxes add up to a higher cost than other areas.”
With the state-mandated closure of nonessential businesses, park activities and other aspects that impact residents’ daily lives, prices are expected to drop even more.
“We do expect prices in Nevada to continue to decline as demand has dwindled because more people are staying home,” Avila said.
I-15 lane restrictions
Motorists can expect lane restrictions on Interstate 15 on a pair of days this week in North Las Vegas.
The inside travel lane along northbound I-15 at Speedway Boulevard will be closed from 5 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced last week.
The temporary lane restriction is needed for center median guardrail repairs.
Motorists should use caution while traveling through the work zone, heeding construction signage and taking alternate detour routes if possible.