With oil prices down by more than 20% from a peak in January after the spreading coronavirus reduces demand in the world's biggest oil importer, motorists in Chattanooga are enjoying the cheapest gas in nearly a year and should see even lower prices at the pump this week, according to the gasoline online pricing service GasBuddy.com.
Chattanooga gas prices fell in the past week by 4.6 cents per gallon, cutting the average price of regular gas in the Chattanooga area to $2.04 per gallon — the lowest average price since last February.
Local gas prices, which fell Monday to as low as $1.92 per gallon t four stations in Ooltewah and Collegedale, average 38 cents a gallon less than the U.S. average. Chattanooga gas prices are the lowest among the major cities in Tennessee.
Gas prices in Chattanooga have dropped by 22.5 cents per gallon in the past month but remain 9.1 cents a gallon higher than a year ago, Gasbuddy.com said.
Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said reduced demand for oil in China due to industry slowdowns from the spreading coronavirus has cut demand and prices for gas. More than 40,000 persons are now infected, and over 1,000 persons have died worldwide from the coronavirus. That has forced many factories in China to limit production and cut travel and gas use throughout the globe.
"The nation's gas prices continue to fall to fresh lows as coronavirus fears continue to put a choke-hold on oil prices, leading to the fourth straight weekly decline in the national average," DeHaan said. "With continued worries of economic slowdown due to the spread of coronavirus, I don't think the impact to oil is done yet, and for now, motorists are poised to see another week of falling gas prices."
More than 10,000 service stations across America are now selling regular gas below $2 a gallon, DeHaan said.