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Odd but true: Coronavirus outbreak in China means cheaper gas in Iowa

DES MOINES — The fast-spreading outbreak of the coronavirus overseas is evidently causing gasoline prices to fall in Iowa.

Rose White at AAA Iowa says the illness that has sickened at least 10-thousand people and killed more than 200 has forced China to restrict the travel of tens of millions of people.  “With the temporary reduction in some transportation services in China, the reduced demand for products appears to be impacting the global market prices,” White says. “China is the second-largest oil consuming nation.”

The actions by the Chinese government trying to halt the spread of the disease are having a significant impact on the global demand for oil.  “Crude oil prices have dropped substantially during the past month,” White says. “In the U.S. trading market, crude has fallen from $64 a barrel down to $51, just during the past month.”

In turn, gasoline prices across the U-S have been dropping, too. They’ve fallen a dime a gallon in the past month, from $2.58 to $2.48. “In Iowa, the state average is 20-cents lower than the national average, currently at $2.28 a gallon,” White says. “Prices have dropped 9-cents a gallon in Iowa during the past month.”

The motor club says the state’s cheapest gas is in Cedar Rapids at $2.22 a gallon, while it’s the most expensive in Dubuque at $2.34.

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