AAA says demand for gas hasn’t been this low since 1993.
LAKEVILLE, Minn. — Talking about gas prices is normally pretty dry. But have you seen the prices lately? They’re cheap!
This come as at a time when normally, gas prices would be creeping up for the beginning of spring and eventual summer.
If you think $1.09 per gallon at Hi Hi Market and Gas in Lakeville is a steal, you should have seen its prices last week.
“The other day it was 96 cents? That was the last one I saw here when I drove by,” a woman filling up her tank said. “When I came back, it was $1.09.”
At least for now, Hi Hi touts the cheapest gas closest to the metro area, according to GasBuddy. Further from the metro, several places in Red Wing and Welch are all under a dollar. The cheapest gas in the state currently is at the Speedway in Red Wing, with the price of $0.96 per gallon.
However, near the metro, $1.09 at Hi Hi was still making dozens of customers happy.
“When was the last time you saw gas for a buck-nine?” a guy said. “You might as well have enough for summer for the lawn mowers.”
“Unheard of really,” another customer said. “Nowadays. But I’m old enough to know when it was $0.27 a gallon. That was a few years ago.”
“I’m 27, I’ve never seen gas this low in my entire life,” one man said as he filled up multiple tanks of gas. “I didn’t think I ever would.”
It’s nice to think of the low gas prices as a well-deserved gift during the coronavirus outbreak, but the low prices are kind of due to the coronavirus itself.
According to AAA, which quotes data from the Energy Information Administration, demand for gas has not been this low since 1993. AAA projects that with more people practicing social distancing, demand will likely go down even more.
Prices have also been low because Russia and Saudi Arabia recently engaged in a crude oil price war.
Jesse Hihi, the owner of Hi Hi Market and Gas, says that’s precisely why he keeps an eye on the markets all day long on his phone. He also says there are more factors when it comes to his pricing.
“We have some competition here, so if somebody drops, I drop, somebody drops, I drop,” he said. “That’s the reason we dropped to 95 cents last Wednesday.”
With his pricing on Friday, Hihi’s business was more than steady. It was great, despite the crummy weather. He said it’s good to have booming business, but he does worry about himself as he faces a growing number of customers daily.
“Oh yeah,” he responded when we asked if he worried about the coronavirus. He raised both his hands to show us a pair of mismatched rubber gloves. “Actually I’m the only one that [has to worry]. Because I lately have 2,000 coming in and out with the cheap gas. We have too many customers. Usually, the average is 300, 400 customers a day, now it’s almost 2,000.”
Outside the store, a steady stream of cars was making its way through.
“We’re not going anywhere so we’re not using as much gas,” one customer said. “It’s probably going to come down everywhere but $1.09 is still 50 cents less than anywhere else.”
And while drivers are enjoying filling up their cars for nearly half the prices of what they paid a month ago, a cheap tank of gas means less in a time of crisis.
“Everyone wants everything to be back to the way it was,” the same customer said. “If I had to pay more in gas to get there? I would do that.”
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