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Gas prices plummet

As COVID-19 cases rise, gas prices drop in California.

Posted: Apr 20, 2020 10:41 PM

CHICO, Calif. -- As Coronavirus cases rise, local gas stations are taking a hit. They say people are scared to come to their station.

Owners of the Shell station on Esplanade say bankruptcy is a real possibility. It says they are selling 1,100 fewer gallons a day and about $700 less in goods a day. They aren’t the only ones.

“It was very slow, especially on the weekends,” said Stephanee Stone of 76. “That’s when our business went very down, but as of now it’s slowly getting better, but we could do better.”

According to Triple-A the average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in California is $2.80. The price is expected to drop.

“It helps us a lot because we are usually $4.00 a gallon and we’re one of the first gas stations into town so they can see the price and say, ‘oh, that’s cheap,” said Stone.

Employees at the 76 on Esplanade say they are staying afloat selling the essential items.

“People are not wanting to go to bigger stores because [we’re] quick and easy, there’s not as many people and they get what they need and go,” said Stone.

Although some gas station are managing, refineries are not. The Marathon Petroleum Company is temporarily shutting down its massive Martinez Refinery in the Bay Area.

The company said it is seeing a 60% drop in demand.

"There's just way too much gasoline being produced, and the refineries have no place to put it,” said Severin Borenstein of UC Berkeley. “There's a limited amount of storage and so somebody was going to have to stop producing.”

Borenstein of UC Berkeley's Hass School of Business studies the oil industry and called the Marathon a major California producer.

He says other refineries in the state are likely to shut down or drastically reduce production, too.

Local gas stations say the same, but are hopeful things will turn around for them due to this drop in price.

“We’re ready for it to go back to normal, so we’re trying to get it going,” said Stone.

Most gas stations in Chico are below California’s average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gas. The 76 on Esplanade starts at $2.69.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 526685

Reported Deaths: 9684
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1958054760
Riverside38487738
Orange38066653
San Bernardino34017477
San Diego30516568
Kern21228151
Fresno15759138
San Joaquin11958180
Alameda11909192
Santa Clara11030192
Sacramento10174148
Tulare9990193
Imperial9513232
Stanislaus9308135
Contra Costa8176131
Ventura787777
San Francisco698961
Santa Barbara652663
San Mateo5744120
Marin518076
Monterey496634
Merced458351
Kings445356
Solano380638
Sonoma311339
Madera211432
Placer195318
San Luis Obispo192616
Yolo161442
Santa Cruz11964
Butte10128
Napa9809
Sutter8406
San Benito6894
El Dorado6681
Lassen6320
Yuba5334
Shasta3979
Colusa3574
Mendocino3419
Glenn3321
Nevada3161
Tehama2461
Humboldt2454
Lake2111
Mono1451
Tuolumne1442
Amador1370
Calaveras1361
Del Norte900
Siskiyou880
Inyo641
Mariposa592
Plumas330
Trinity50
Modoc40
Sierra30
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Scattered Clouds
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Hi: 89° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 84°
Oroville
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 87°
Paradise
Scattered Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 84°
Chester
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 86°
Red Bluff
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 89°
Willows
Scattered Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 84°
Much cooler temperatures and the potential for mountain thunderstorms are ahead in your Wednesday forecast. Thunderstorms will result in increased concerns for fire danger. Much hotter temperatures are ahead for your weekend.
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