Why is gas so cheap and prices going down? There's less demand and high inventory as consumers drive less amid coronavirus pandemic, GasBuddy says.

Gas prices continue to drastically drop with more than a dozen states selling gas for under $1 a gallon.

With consumers driving less as the coronavirus pandemic keeps them home, the national average gas price Friday was $1.82, down 6 cents from a week ago, according to AAA. Drivers were paying $2.83 a gallon this time last year.

According to fuel-savings app GasBuddy, which listed the national average at $1.78 Saturday, the 13 states with gas under $1 per gallon are: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Analysts say crude prices hit a low not seen since 2002 this week as demand has dropped to levels not seen in over half a century, and that imbalance means prices at the pump should continue to decline.

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According to GasBuddy’s April 15 report on consumer fuel buying trends, there was a 20% drop in gallons purchases in March 2020 compared to March 2019. The most recent data is even steeper, GasBuddy found, with transactions in April showing that gasoline demand has eroded by 50% to 70% over levels in late February and early March.

GasBuddy also found that in six states – Wisconsin, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Illinois – is the lowest in more than a decade.

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said in a blog post Friday that five of the six states haven’t seen gas prices this low in over 15 years. For Illinois, the state average of $1.77 hasn’t been this low since November 2008.

DeHaan said chances are good the national average could “eventually drop under the 2008/2009 low as well.” In late December 2008, the national average was $1.59, according to GasBuddy.

“I fully expect that as many as half of the nation’s states will ultimately see prices fall to at least decade lows, with perhaps most of them ultimately falling to lows not seen since the early 2000s,” DeHaan said.

Yet, with some parts of the country planning to reopen soon, are consumers expected to be able to take advantage of the low prices?

DeHaan believes there is strong potential that gas prices will be lower this summer than previously projected.

“I’m hopeful by then we’re safely able to enjoy it,” he said.

Contributing: Associated Press

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

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