By: Ragina C Ali, AAA Mid-Atlantic
Local gas prices continued to drop slightly this week as gasoline demand reached its lowest level since mid-February and gasoline stocks increased. Marylanders are paying two cents less than last week and at least six cents less than one month ago. Crude oil prices continue to hover close to the $60 mark and could cause some volatility at the pump in the coming weeks.
The gas price average in Maryland today is $2.44, which is down respectively two cents in the last week and six cents from last month but is up 13 cents from this date last year.
Today’s national gas price average is $2.56, down two cents in the last week, down four cents in the last month and up 17 cents from this time last year.
CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES
Regular Unleaded Gasoline
|Today||Week Ago||Month Ago||Year Ago|
|Washington Suburbs(MD only)||$2.53||$2.55||$2.57||$2.51|
|Crude Oil||$60.07per barrel(Fri. 12/13/19||$59.20per barrel(12/6/19)||$57.72per barrel(11/15/19)||$51.20per barrel(12/14/18)|
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $60.07 per barrel, 87 cents higher than last Friday’s close. Crude oil traded higher Thursday following talk of the U.S. and China closing in on a trade deal. Negotiations between the two countries resulted in a phase-one trade deal announced by both countries Friday.
A deal would ease worries of a global economic slowdown, leading to lower demand for energy. Oil prices bounced around a bit this week following a December 6 meeting between OPEC and its allies, where the group agreed to cut oil production by an additional 500,000 barrels per day.
“Since the end of October, gasoline demand decreases and gasoline stock increases have paved the way for cheaper gas prices,” says Ragina C. Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Barring any significant jump in crude oil prices, AAA expects stocks to continue to grow and drive gas prices even cheaper through year-end.”
The Week Ahead
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects crude oil prices will be lower on average in 2020 (WTI averaging $55.50/barrel) than in 2019 because of forecast rising global oil inventories, particularly in the first half of next year. EIA assumes that OPEC will limit production through all of 2020, amid a forecast of rising oil inventories.