Gas prices

Ken Swist of Raymond fills up at Mr. Gas Plus in Raymond on Wednesday. The price for unleaded regular was $1.89 a gallon.

At one Irving gas station in Moultonborough, employee Monique Wixon doesn’t need to check the GasBuddy website to see if her station is offering the state’s cheapest gas.

“Customers tell us,” said Wixon, who works at the Irving at 967 Whittier Highway.

That station checked in at $1.499 a gallon Wednesday — technically, tied for second lowest in the state.

“We were the lowest for a while,” said Wixon, who said gas sales have been down recently with fewer people driving.

Statewide, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded stood at $2.017 on Thursday, according to AAA.

That was down a penny from Wednesday, 13 cents from a week ago, 37 cents from a month earlier and 49 cents lower than a year ago.

The fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has meant less demand for gas and lower prices.

“Motorists park their cars and shelter in place, leading to an unprecedented drop never before seen in U.S. gasoline demand, causing prices to sink like a rock,” Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said in an email this week.

He reported that the national average for gas was less than $2 a gallon for the first time in more than four years.

“With the nation continuing to be under siege from the coronavirus and millions staying parked at home, there’s quite a bit more downside that’s in the pipeline coming in the weeks ahead,” he said.

He said the national average could fall another 50 cents to $1 a gallon in the coming weeks.

GasBuddy’s weekly report said Monday’s average price in New Hampshire stood at $2.04 a gallon. That compares with $2.50 a year ago, $3.79 on March 30, 2012 and $1.98 on March 30, 2016.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration cited a few reasons for the decline.

“Crude oil prices have fallen significantly since the beginning of 2020, largely driven by the economic contraction caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and a sudden increase in crude oil supply following the suspension of agreed production cuts among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partner countries,” the EIA said on its website.

And what does that mean for Granite Staters?

“We have cheap gas,” Irving’s Wixon said.

What’s Working, a series exploring solutions for New Hampshire’s workforce needs, is sponsored by the New Hampshire Solutions Journalism Lab at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications and is funded by Eversource, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, the New Hampshire College & University Council, Northeast Delta Dental and the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education.

Contact reporter Michael Cousineau at mcousineau@unionleader.com. To read stories in the series, visit unionleader.com/whatsworking.  

Thursday, May 28, 2020
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Wednesday, May 20, 2020