Gas prices in Israel dropped Wednesday morning to their lowest rate in 15 years, in the midst of a pandemic that has hurt many financially and an ensuing lockdown that has severely restricted the use of vehicles.
The price of 95 octane gas at self-service pumps plummeted by NIS 1.03 — 17.4 percent — to NIS 4.89 ($1.38) per liter, the lowest since January 2005.
Explaining the drastic price drop, the Energy Ministry said petroleum has become significantly cheaper around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought global flights to an almost complete halt and limited car use.
The price would have dropped even further had the US dollar not recently gained some 4.5% on the shekel.
Gas prices in Israel have dropped consistently since the beginning of 2020, when the price was NIS 6.14 ($1.74) per liter.
While such news would have been dramatic in any other time, most car owners at currently have little way to make use of the low rate since Israel has forbidden citizens from going more than 100 meters from their homes other than for a specific set of purposes.
Additionally, the unemployment rate has climbed to 23.4 percent with over 800,000 Israelis put out of work in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, dealing a blow to their income.
There are now 969,693 Israelis seeking unemployment benefits, counting the 160,000 who were already unemployed before the crisis. The staggering figure amounts to nearly one quarter of Israel’s workforce.
Gas prices are likely to rise again when the crisis is over.