Gas prices continued to plummet through the region, dipping below $2 per gallon on Wednesday night and holding there through Thursday afternoon amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

FORT WALTON BEACH — Gas prices dipped below $2 per gallon locally Wednesday night for the first time since 2016 and remained there through Thursday afternoon.

In Fort Walton Beach, gas was $1.98 at Sam's Club (740 N. Beal Parkway); $1.99 at Petro Express (245 Miracle Strip Parkway); and $1.99 at Raceway (312 Miracle Strip Parkway), according to, which gives hourly updates on prices.

AAA-The Auto Club Group spokesman Mark Jenkins predicted the drop Monday after barrels of crude oil began trading for $33 per barrel, down from $53 just two weeks earlier.

► MARCH 9, 2020: Gas prices could dip below $2 per gallon locally

The lower prices, Jenkins said, were a direct result of concerns over the spread of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, which had brought travel across the world to a grinding halt and resulted in less demand for jet fuel and gasoline.

"How long this holds or how low prices go will rely on where stock market prices go from here," Jenkins said.

In Mary Esther, the three lowest prices for gas were all holding steady at $2.19 per gallon. In Destin, the 10 lowest prices ranged from $2.16 per gallon to $2.39 per gallon. In Crestview, the range in prices were from $2.34-$2.39 per gallon and in Niceville the average price in 10 locations was $2.25 per gallon.