By: Ragina C Ali, Mid-Atlantic AAA
Annapolis, MD- Following a week of uncertainty surrounding Middle Eastern geopolitical tensions, gas prices across Maryland have increased. The statewide average increased by three cents in the last week, but the jump could be halted by lower crude prices, lower demand for gasoline and increased supplies of crude oil and gasoline.
AAA Mid-Atlantic cautions drivers that further escalation of conflict in the region could lead to a fluctuation in crude oil, and therefore, gas prices.
The gas price average in Maryland today is $2.54, which is up respectively three cents in the last week, nine cents from last month, and 34 cents from this date last year.
Today’s national gas price average is $2.59, up respectively one cent in the last week, two cents in the last month and 36 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)||$2.60||$2.58||$2.54||$2.35|
|Crude Oil||$59.04per barrel(1/10/20)||$63.05per barrel(1/3/20)||$60.07per barrel(12/13/19)||$51.59per barrel(1/11/19)|
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $59.04 per barrel, $4.01 lower than last Friday’s close and the week’s lowest closing price.
Crude oil prices have been on somewhat of a rollercoaster over the past week, triggered by the U.S. drone strike last Friday which killed Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani. Prices spiked again on Tuesday when over a dozen missiles were launched in retaliation for the drone strike.
As the market continues to weigh the impact and risk of additional retaliatory actions that could lead to further escalation of tension in the region, WTI prices will likely continue to fluctuate.
“Typically, low demand amid rising gasoline stocks would put downward pressure on gas prices, but given the current friction between the U.S. and Iran, oil and gas prices are seeing fluctuation, though minimal,” says Ragina C. Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Crude oil prices have decreased since the middle of the week and hopefully this downward movement will keep gas prices in check.”
The Week Ahead
While there is still an active situation at play in the Middle East, there is no immediate threat to crude supply domestically or globally that can support a sustained increase to crude oil prices or domestic wholesale gasoline prices. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released new gasoline data that showed demand declined last week, a typical trend during the winter months. Additionally, EIA’s weekly report showed that total domestic gasoline stocks grew substantially.