Local gas prices rising after rapid April coronavirus drop

Gas prices that had dropped to about a $1 a gallon in parts of southwest Ohio during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic now are rising as travel increases under relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.

Even with the recent hikes, the price is the lowest to start a June in 16 years.

One local driver said she wished the prices had remained low a little longer as people who were out of work during stay-at-home orders work to get back on their feet.

“I wish the prices were what they were before,” said Taylor Vaught, as she was filling up her car with gas in Dayton on Monday afternoon. “We’re going back to work, we’re just now getting money back in our pockets, flowing how they were before, and gas is going back to the regular prices.”

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The average gas price per gallon in Dayton is $1.97, according to GasBuddy.com. This comes after prices dropped to less than a dollar at some locations around Dayton in April.

Gasoline prices dropped for 10 consecutive weeks total across the U.S. amid COVID-19. On April 14, in week seven of the price drop, the Sunoco station on North Dixie Drive in Harrison Twp. had gas for 99 cents a gallon.

Now increasing, local gas prices follow a trend over the last six weeks of more expensive gas across the U.S., with the current average price of $2.02 per gallon.

“It’s no surprise that gasoline prices have increased for the sixth straight week as gasoline demand has hit its highest level since early March as Americans are returning to the roads,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

Oil prices are on the rise due to the demand for oil and gasoline yet this demand is still 20% to 25% below a year ago said De Haan. He believes increased oil prices are caused by the economy possibly recovering from COVID-19 shut downs faster than people predicted.

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“For now, motorists will likely continue to see gas prices rising for the weeks ahead,” De Haan said.

Although the gasoline prices are on the rise after states began lifting their stay-at-home orders, the prices are still lower than years past, said Cindy Antrican, AAA public affairs manager.

“The beginning of June has not seen gas prices this low since 2004,” Antrican said. “As crude oil prices trend higher and gasoline demand increases, Americans will see gas prices push more expensive, but this summer will be cheaper than last.”

Vaught said that even though she wishes gas wouldn’t become more expensive, she still feels the prices now are better than what they were a few years ago so she is happy.

Prices average about $1.97 in Montgomery, Greene and Miami counties, according to GasBuddy.

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