Calm before the storm at the gas pumps

News Release, AAA

After two weeks of dramatic increases due to East Coast refinery issues, Maryland motorists have noticed stability at the gas pumps since the July Fourth holiday weekend. However, prices could return to an upward tick, albeit slight and short-term, in the coming days as a result of Tropical Storm Barry in the Gulf of Mexico and higher crude oil prices.

Prices in Maryland are down by a penny in the last week, up seven cents in the last month and are 14 cents lower than on this date last year.

Today’s national gas price average is $2.77, up two cents in the last week, up five cents in the last month and down 11 cents from this time last year.


CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES 

Regular Unleaded Gasoline

TodayWeek AgoMonth AgoYear Ago
National$2.77$2.75$2.72$2.88
Maryland$2.70$2.71$2.63$2.84
Annapolis$2.66$2.67$2.55$2.81
Baltimore$2.68$2.69$2.57$2.82
Cumberland$2.87$2.85$2.77$2.97
Frederick$2.69$2.69$2.58$2.82
Hagerstown$2.63$2.66$2.67$2.81
Salisbury$2.60$2.64$2.49$2.79
Washington Suburbs(MD only)$2.81$2.80$2.75$2.92
Crude Oil$60.21per barrel(7/12/19)$57.51per barrel(7/5/19)$52.51per barrel(6/14/19)$71.01per barrel(7/13/18)

At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $60.21 per barrel, $2.70 higher than last Friday’s close. Crude prices settled at their highest price since May on Wednesday ($60.43). Prices were lifted by a fourth consecutive week of declines in U.S. crude oil inventories, tensions with Iran and the development of a Tropical Storm in the Gulf of Mexico, which has temporarily shut down platforms, rigs and refineries in the region. The price increase is also a reaction to OPEC’s agreement to extend production cuts until March 2020.

Following two weeks of price increases due to refinery issues on the East Coast, local drivers have noticed stability in pump prices since the July 4th holiday weekend,” saysRagina C. Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “However, rising crude prices and the effects of Tropical Storm Barry on the Gulf Coast’s refining, production and delivery operations may change that.”

The Week Ahead
Crude oil could continue its climb in the coming days and weeks depending on the impact Tropical Storm Barry has on the southeastern U.S. and the refineries, rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The potential for widespread flooding is great, which would result in refining and production disruptions, resulting in tighter supplies of gasoline and an increase in gas prices.The Gulf offshore region accounts for 16 percent of U.S. crude oil output according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). More than 45 percent of U.S. refining capacity and 51 percent of gas processing takes place along the Gulf coast.