Gas Price Plunge Uneven in Cary

Cary, NC — Driving from one end of Cary to the other on popular corridors like the Maynard Loop and Cary Parkway, there is a noticeable discrepancy in gas prices. On some days the variance is anywhere from 10-30 cents and just today, one station’s prices have been reported as high as 89 cents more than the cheapest in town.

These miles-apart price differences and the national plunge we’re seeing are directly related to two things, an early-March oil price war overseas and a plummeting demand for gas in the age of COVID-19.

OPEC Deal Brings Record Production Cuts

The number one factor that determines the price at Cary stations is the cost of the raw material used to produce the gas — crude oil. The top producers of it are the United States, Saudi Arabia and Russia. Since the start of 2020, oil prices have fallen more than 60%, tanking individual barrel prices to the $19-$30 range for the last few weeks.

Following a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the U.S. intervened to aid in creating a multinational agreement with Russia and OPEC+ (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) to help stabilize the global crude oil industry and the jobs that come with it. The deal was finalized on Sunday, April 12 and applies to 23 countries.

The countries collectively committed to withholding 9.7 million barrels a day of oil from the global market from May to the end of June and to continue smaller production for two years. This is the single largest output cut in history and amounts to double the cuts made by OPEC during the global financial crisis.

Local & National Gas Prices Take a Deep Dive

Prices on the same day at separate Cary gas stations.

A general store in Wautoma, Wisconsin was reported this week to be selling a gallon of gas for just 92 cents. Nearly 10% of stations across Wisconsin are also below the $1/gallon mark, a price that hasn’t been seen in decades.

While these below dollar prices are still relatively rare, some Cary stations might be heading in that direction. According to the real-time gas price app, GasBuddy, Cary’s lowest gas price rests at $1.45/gallon while the most expensive is reported at $2.34/gallon today.

According to AAA, about 75% of U.S. gas stations are selling for less than $2. The national average stands at $1.84, which is down from only one month ago when the average was $2.26.

While gas prices haven’t fallen as much as oil yet, they’re likely to continue to fall, according to Tom Kloza, the Chief Oil Analyst for OPIS.

Keeping Track of Cary’s Prices

If you’re wanting to stay up to date on fuel prices in Cary, you can use Gas Buddy on your computer or phone.

Story by Ashley Kairis. Photos by Hal Goodtree.