CAPITAL REGION — The international collapse of wholesale oil prices is starting to show results that motorists can smile about at gas stations around the Capital Region.
Prices are down by more than 5 cents per gallon in the last week alone. On average, Capital Region prices are down 22.6 cents per gallon from a month ago and are 59.9 cents lower than a year ago, according to GasBuddy.com. Industry analysts expect the price of gas to continue falling, even if people who are now staying home return to work in coming weeks.
Prices in the region generally remain about $2 per gallon, with a few stations at $1.99, according to a GasBuddy survey.
The median U.S. price is $1.69 per gallon, down five cents in the last week and about nine cents lower than the national average, according to a GasBuddy. While some parts of Wisconsin and Michigan have prices below a dollar per gallon, New York prices are exceeded only on the West Coast.
In Schenectady, GasBuddy reported that one station in the city was selling gas on Thursday for $1.99, while there were a number of locations charging between $2.09 and $2.15 per gallon.
From $2.09 to $2.15 per gallon was also the going rate in the Saratoga Springs area, while Amsterdam had one location charging just $1.99 per gallon, and others charging as much as $2.34.
The upstate average is $2.16, according to the New York Energy Research and Development Authority. The average in the Albany area is $2.13.
“With Americans following stay at home orders and refiners producing excess gasoline, growing gasoline inventories and low demand will continue to push pump prices lower,” the American Automobile Association reported.
The drop in prices ties back to the international markets, where the global pandemic and economic paralysis has caused a plunge in gasoline demand at the same time that production has been increasing in the United States, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Across the nation, gas prices have dropped for eight consecutive weeks and 59 consecutive days, according to GasBuddy — so prices were already falling due to international market conditions when public officials responded to the novel coronavirus pandemic but shutting down much of the nation’s economic activity, or telling people to work from home.
“Truly unprecedented demand destruction has been dismantling expensive gas prices everywhere,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “With oil again at new multi-decade lows, we still have room for prices to fall nearly countrywide. With the wounds to the oil industry growing deeper, it’s becoming more likely that even after most Americans return to work, there will be a hangover to the low prices that many motorists will eventually be able to take advantage of.”