Ask Clark: What Will We Be Paying at the Pump Next?


COVID-19 has reshaped our economy in so many ways. You’ve already heard about — and maybe even personally been touched by — the massive unemployment it’s created. That, in turn, has led to millions of requests from homeowners and renters for housing payment assistance.

But now the pandemic is having impacts on our nation’s oil supply. Suddenly, we’re seeing something that’s never happened before: The price of a barrel of oil has gone negative.

Here’s Clark’s Guess About How Low Gas Prices Could Go

This unprecedented move is a classic case of economics. There’s a vast oversupply of oil and — with factories idled and most of the country under shelter-in-place orders — few of us are driving anywhere near as many miles as we did just a month ago. So the demand just isn’t there.

That all means gas prices are likely to go into free-fall in the coming weeks.

AAA reports the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is $1.81 as of April 21, 2020. That’s down four cents from just a week ago. It’s also a full dollar less a gallon than we were paying as a national average one year ago.

But even lower prices still are on the way. So how low does money expert Clark Howard expect them to go?

“The wholesale price of a gallon of gas is right now running somewhere around 60-odd cents. You add in the taxes and dealer markup and all that, we’re looking at most places in the country being around a dollar a gallon in the next several weeks,” he says.

In fact, some states are already paying less than a buck for a gallon of regular unleaded. According to the latest numbers from GasBuddy, those states as of April 17, 2020, include:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

What gas prices are you seeing near you? Let us know in the comments section below!

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