By: Ragina C Ali, AAA Mid-Atlantic
Drivers both locally and nationally enjoyed yet another week of lower prices at the pump. In one month, gas prices have dropped by double digits in Maryland. The gas price average in Maryland today is $2.33, which is down respectively five cents in the last week and 21 cents in the last month, and up 11 cents from this date last year.
New data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has revealed that a high level of gasoline stocks and low demand continue to put downward pressure on pump prices. Lower crude oil prices are also contributing to the savings as the market continues to react to the spread of the coronavirus.
Today’s national gas price average is $2.44, down respectively four cents in the last week and 14 cents in the last month, and up 16 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)||$2.46||$2.50||$2.60||$2.32|
|Crude Oil||$50.32per barrel(2/7/20)||$51.56per barrel(1/31/20)||$59.04per barrel(1/10/20)||$52.72per barrel(2/8/19)|
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $50.32 per barrel, $1.24 lower than last Friday’s close. Crude closed at a 13-month low of $49.61 on Tuesday, highlighting the effect the rapidly-spreading coronavirus is having on the oil market. The coronavirus is depleting demand for fuel in China, the world’s largest oil importer, pulling oil prices down. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia discussed furthering oil production cuts this week but the countries can’t agree on a plan yet. Extending the production cuts is seen as one way to cushion the blow of dropping crude prices.
“Cheaper crude prices and healthy oil and gasoline stock levels mean motorists can expect prices to continue to decline this month,” says Ragina C. Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “However, there may be some volatility with crude oil prices, as many market analysts will be watching the economic impact of the coronavirus and whether OPEC will consider further oil production cuts.”
The Week Ahead
Oil prices have fallen by more than $10 a barrel (or nearly 20%) since the start of 2020, distressing oil producers. While OPEC countries such as Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, have voiced support for any agreement that would stabilize the market, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday he could not say for sure whether it was time to tighten output further. OPEC is currently cutting output by 1.7 million barrels per day.