standing gas pump

PROVIDENCE — Motorists in Rhode Island are finding relief at the pump this week, but the drop in prices may be for the wrong reasons as the potential for a COVID-19 induced economic slowdown is driving prices down.

The average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is down 2 cents from last week, averaging $3.40 per gallon, according to a survey conducted through AAA Northeast on Monday. Today’s price is the same as a month ago and $1.29 higher than on Dec. 6, 2020 .

Pump prices fell as fears of a possible COVID-19 global economic slowdown pushed oil prices into the mid $60s per barrel — a price not seen since August.

“Consumers may be catching a break at the pump right now, but it's not for a very good reason,” said Lloyd Albert, senior vice president of public and government affairs for AAA Northeast. "A potential COVID-19 induced economic slowdown hurts everyone and could prompt OPEC to slash production if oil prices drop too low."

Rhode Island’s average gas price is 5 cents higher than the national average.

AAA Northeast’s survey of fuel prices found the current national average to be 4 cents lower than last week at $3.35 per gallon. Today’s national average price is 7 cents lower than a month ago, and $1.19 higher than on the same day last year.

— Jason Vallee

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