BALTIMORE, MD (December 7, 2021) – Pump prices continue to tumble as fears of a possible COVID-19 global economic slowdown pushed oil prices into the mid $60s per barrel last week—a price not seen since August. Also helping to ease upward pricing pressure was the decision by OPEC and its oil-producing allies not to cut production.
The national average for a gallon of gas dipped five cents on the week to $3.34, while Maryland motorists saw prices drop three cents week over week to $3.33.
“Consumers may be catching a break at the pump right now, but it’s not for a very good reason,” said Ragina C. Ali, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “A potential COVID-19 induced economic slowdown hurts everyone and could prompt OPEC to slash production if oil prices drop too low.”
According to a recent AAA poll, forty-five percent of Maryland drivers said they have changed their daily driving habits because of gas prices.
“Although gas prices have dipped slightly in the past week or so, pump prices, in general, are still the highest they have been in seven years, prompting Maryland drivers to consolidate errands, carpool, or otherwise limit daily driving,” said Ali.
The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has been above $3 a gallon since early May, mostly driven by the price of crude oil. Crude settled at $66.26, at the end of Friday’s formal trading session, down $1.89 on the week, but $20 more expensive than a year ago. Friday’s closing price marks the lowest settlement price in seven days.
Today’s national average is eight cents ($3.42) less than a month ago, but $1.18 more than last year ($2.16).
Here in Maryland, the average price is down, four cents ($3.37) from last month, and up 99 cents ($2.34) compared to last year.
“Interestingly, in a recent AAA poll, while nearly half of Maryland drivers surveyed indicated they have changed their driving behaviors because of pump prices, over a third stated they do not foresee changing their driving habits because of gas prices – even if gas prices were to climb above $4.00 a gallon,” Ali said.
AAA Poll Highlights – Maryland Drivers:
- Forty-five percent (45%) of respondents say they are driving less or trying to drive less because of gas prices.
- Thirty-four percent (34%) of drivers say they try to consolidate errands, carpool or otherwise drive less when the price of gas tops $3 a gallon.
- Seventeen percent more (17%) say they try to consolidate errands, carpool or otherwise drive less when the price of gas tops $3.50 a gallon.
- Sixteen percent (16%) more say they try to consolidate errands, carpool or otherwise drive less when the price of gas tops $4 a gallon.
- Thirty-four percent (34%) say they do not foresee changing their driving habits because of gas prices.