Pumping gas file photo

Gas pump. (File photo)

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Gasoline prices in Massachusetts have plunged 27 cents in the past three weeks as the state, nation and world grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

Prices sank 13 cents from last week — the biggest decrease in over a decade. The drop follows ones of 7 cents in each of the previous two weeks, AAA Northeast reported Monday.

Self-serve, regular is averaging $2.16 per gallon, the lowest since March 2017.

Massachusetts’ price is 4 cents above the national average, and a year ago at this time, the average price in the Bay State was 34 cents higher at $2.50 per gallon.

The last time gas prices dropped as much as 13 cents in one week in Massachusetts was when they plummeted 17 cents in November 2008 during the Great Recession, AAA records show. There were two weeks in December 2014 and in January 2015 when costs shot down 11 cents each of those weeks.

Prices in the Bay State have dropped 38 cents since mid-January — the result of strong supplies of gas and oil and less demand because of the winter months and virus.

Oil and gas prices have been sinking and supplies ballooning worldwide in the wake of the virus.

“Typically gas prices start to trend more expensive at the beginning of spring, especially as motorists get out to enjoy the warmer weather and travel for spring break. That is not the case this year,” Mary Maguire of AAA said. “With Americans urged to stay home and practice social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus, we are seeing less traffic on the roadways which will ultimately drive down demand, increase gasoline supply and push pump prices less expensive for the foreseeable future.”

Prices also usually climb this time of year as oil refineries are shut down for maintenance and the switch to cleaner summer blends.

In Rhode Island, regular has dipped to $2.24 a gallon, down a dime from last week, AAA said.

The range in prices in the latest AAA survey in Massachusetts for regular gas is 92 cents, from $1.83 to $2.75. Midgrade is averaging $2.52, from $2.09 to $2.95. Premium is averaging $2.75, from $2.29 to $3.15, and Diesel is averaging $2.76, from $2.49 to $3.29.

Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.

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