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Majority of areas in Maryland are under $2 with the exception of the D.C. Metro area
By: Ragina C. Ali, AAA Mid-Atlantic
The national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline fell under $2 per gallon for the first time in four years on Tuesday. Locally, gas prices are following this trend. The gas price average in Maryland today is $1.99, which is down respectively six cents in the last week, 40 cents in the last month, and 66 cents from this date last year. The last time Maryland’s prices were under $2 was on March 21, 2016. The decline is due to the effects of COVID-19 on the global economy and the crude oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Crude prices have remained more than $30 lower than last year.
Today’s national gas price average is $1.95, down respectively 10 cents in the last week, 47 cents in the last month, and 75 cents from this time last year.
CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES
Regular Unleaded Gasoline
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $28.34 per barrel, $6.83 higher than last Friday’s close, down 40% in the past month and down $32.84 (54%) since the beginning of the year. Oil prices rallied Thursday, sending U.S. prices up by nearly 25 percent, after President Trump suggested that Saudi Arabia and Russia would discuss an agreement, to significantly cut oil production. In addition, oil prices moved higher on Thursday based on the prospect of a decline in U.S. crude production and a report that China is building its stockpiles. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Wednesday that U.S. crude supplies rose for the 10th straight week.
“The global impact that the coronavirus is having on gasoline demand has meant a nose dive for prices at the pump both locally and nationally,” says Ragina C. Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “AAA expects gas prices to continue dropping as lower crude prices combine with the realities of people staying home and driving less.”
The Week Ahead
While demand is diminishing, COVID-19 is not impacting the U.S. gasoline supply. The U.S. has an unusual amount of winter-blend gasoline still available for this time of year. This caused the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to extend the sale of winter-blend past the May 1 deadline to May 20. The agency said they would continue to monitor and may extend the waiver again. The EPA’s extension of the winter-blend gasoline waiver will contribute to sustained lower prices, especially as U.S. gasoline demand readings look more like winter-driving season than spring. AAA forecasts that until crude oil prices and gasoline demand increase, cheaper gas prices are here for the foreseeable future.