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Gas prices slowly start to increase as more places start reopening

Gas prices slowly start to increase as more places start reopening
Posted at 2:55 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 14:55:00-04

Gas prices have been remarkably cheap over the past few weeks, but we’re slowly starting to see them increase. The national average jumped 6 cents last week, but it is still only $1.87 a gallon.

If you’ve ventured out of your house in the past few weeks, you’ve likely noticed how cheap gas prices are. In fact, more than 75 percent of gas stations across the country have gas for less than $1.99 a gallon.

AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano says gas prices are so low right now for two reasons: crude oil prices and demand.

"Typically, crude oil and demand are very high this time of year,” she explained. “Though, given what’s happening with COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions and limitations, both are extremely low.”

Casselano says crude oil is typically $50 to $70 a barrel. Right now, it’s about $20. And as those stay-at-home orders are lifted, and businesses start opening again, there will likely be an increase in demand.

"Those states that are seeing the fluctuation and increases, those states are mostly states where you’re seeing more businesses opening. Social distancing recommendations still in line, but more businesses opening and people venturing out," said Casselano.

Some of those areas are the Great Lakes region and the south and southeast. Casselano says the price of gas and how fast it rises will depend on demand. However, she doesn’t expect the prices to make a dramatic jump.

"In the past few weeks, they’ve been about 5 million barrels a day. This time of the year, it’s usually high eights, nine million barrels a day and only increasing, because it’s summer and Memorial Day is around the corner and people are going to take their road trips," said Casselano.

She says the national average is still a dollar cheaper than it was a year ago, and she doesn’t expect it to completely close that gap any time soon.

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Reopening Ohio
Gov. Mike DeWine and the State of Ohio have established a plan to begin reopening Ohio businesses starting May 1. Below is a timeline of the businesses allowed to reopen.

May 1: Medical care – non-essential surgeries and procedures that do not require an overnight stay will be allowed beginning May 1.
May 4: Manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses that were ordered to cease activities may reopen on May 4, as well as general office environments.
May 12: Retail establishments and facilities will be allowed to reopen on May 12.
May 15: Salons, barbershops, day spas, tanning facilities, massage parlors, tattoo parlors and piercing businesses. Restaurants will be allowed to serve patrons on outdoor patios. More details here.
May 21: Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen for dine-in service. Read more here. Campgrounds will be allowed to reopen. Read more here.
May 22: Horse racing will be allowed to resume, with no spectators. Casinos and Racinos are not included in the reopening. Read more here.
May 26: Gyms, fitness centers, regulated pools, recreation centers and studios will be allowed to reopen, with new requirements. Non-contact and limited-contact sports leagues, such as golf, baseball and tennis will be allowed to resume. BMVs across Ohio will reopen, but government officials encourage citizens to utilize the BMVs online services when possible. Read more here.
May 31: Day care centers will be able to reopen in Ohio. Read more about the plan to reopen day cares here. Day camps and summer camps will also be allowed to operate. Details on that here.

While these announced reopenings encompass the majority of the businesses, agencies and events closed and canceled by the state's orders, the governor has not yet made an annoucements on when K-12 schools in the state will reopen, nor when places of public amusement, such as theme parks, gambling businesses, skating rinks, movie theaters, and others will be allowed to reopen. See a full list of indoor and outdoor places that remain closed here.

Click here for more details on the state's "Responsible RestartOhio" plan.