As Oil Prices Drop, Bay Area Residents Hope Gas Prices Will Follow

NBC Universal, Inc.

The price of a barrel of oil dropped 20% Monday to below $100 a barrel, and experts said gas prices will follow but warn to not hold your breath.

The average price per gallon in the Bay Area is just under $6, impacting people's lives.

“I think it’s on our minds a lot more and we drive a lot less and thank God it’s coming down if it does,” said Jordan Levsock of Mill Valley. 

The price of a barrel of oil dropped 20% Monday to below $100 a barrel, and experts say gas prices will follow. But don’t hold your breath. Terry McSweeney reports.

And that is one big “if”. Experts say cheaper oil will result in cheaper gas, but it’s hard to say when.

“Prices at the pump tend to follow oil prices up very quickly but they do not tend to follow oil prices down quite as quickly,” said Andrew Campbell of the Energy Institute in UC Berkeley. 

When will gas prices start to come down? A notable proposal at the state capitol suspended our gas tax and prices have started to level off over the past few days. But we’re also paying more than $1 per gallon more than what we paid one month ago. NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke to Andy Campbell of the UC Berkeley Energy Institute for some insight.

Campbell said two events lead to Monday’s big drop in the price of oil. One, some optimism over potential peace in Ukraine. And a surge in COVID-19.

“In China, there was a lockdown because of COVID-19 in a major economic city, a major hub, that has the potential of causing demand in China to drop potentially,” said Campbell.

He said the price of oil could also increase suddenly should there be an expansion of the hostilities in Ukraine.

Melissa Mooney of Sausalito said the volatility is almost enough to have her change her ways. 

“For the first time, I’m considering an electric or hybrid vehicle, but I’m a petrol head, and I love my manual transmission and my high-performance car,” she said. 

Campbell urges drivers to seek out the less expensive gas stations, and reward the owners who are minimizing their price hikes.

Contact Us