Gas prices continue to fall nationwide due in part to fears of the growing coronavirus pandemic and continued tensions between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The falling price for a drum of oil has already proven costly for oil producers in southern Illinois.
The price of oil has plummeted from $40.25 just two weeks ago to $20 at time of press, a decline of $20.25 in the short span. The drop can be attributed to everything from international politics to public health concerns, but the result is likely to be felt far beyond the oil-producing industry, according to one expert.
"This is going to hurt everyone," said Seth Whitehead, Executive Director of the Illinois Petroleum Resources Board.
Illinois gas prices have fallen 13.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.03 per gallon today, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 4,378 stations. Gas prices in Illinois are 52.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and stand 63.4 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.
According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Illinois is priced at $1.28 per gallon today while the most expensive is $3.19 per gallon, a difference of $1.91 per gallon. The lowest price in the state today is $1.28 per gallon while the highest is $3.19 per gallon, a difference of $1.91 per gallon.
The national average price of gasoline has fallen 12.8 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $2.08 per gallon today. The national average is down 38.5 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands 54.7 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.
"Gas prices have spent virtually all of March marching lower, with the drop continuing as the coronavirus destroys oil demand globally, leading to the lowest oil prices we've seen in 18 years, paving the way for still an additional 35-75 cent per gallon drop at most stations in the weeks ahead," Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy said. "I don't think I've ever seen such a collapse in prices, even including the Great Recession. What we're witnessing is easily going to go down as the great collapse in oil demand, and for motorists hurrying to fill up today, they're wasting their money as prices will continue to drop in the days ahead. Gas stations are passing along the drop several weeks behind, and there's plenty more room for prices to drop, putting 99 cents per gallon prices as a strong possibility for perhaps many more stations than we previously anticipated. This is truly an unprecedented turn of events."
In Robinson, the price has fallen to around $2.04 per gallon.
"The sharp decline in oil prices can be attributed to two factors," Whitehead said. "A dramatic drop in global demand due to the Coronavirus and announced plans by two of the world's largest producers - Russia and Saudi Arabia - to dramatically increase production. Many experts believe the simultaneous dramatic drop in demand and dramatic increase in supply is unprecedented."