Merry-go-round at the pumps in the Mid-Atlantic

Local gas prices have moved up and down since the beginning of the year

By: Ragina C. Ali, AAA Mid-Atlantic

Local gas prices have been on a bit of a merry-go-round ride since the start of 2020. Low demand for gasoline, an increase in crude oil supply and tumbling crude prices have the potential to push gas prices lower. Drivers could continue to experience volatility in the coming days and weeks due to further oil market effects from refinery maintenance season, the mid-March switch to summer-blend gasoline and the coronavirus.

The gas price average in Maryland today is $2.42, which is respectively up four cents in the last week, one cent in the last month, and seven cents from this date last year.

Today’s national gas price average is $2.45, down respectively one cent in the last week and five cents in the last month, but up four cents from this time last year.

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES 

Regular Unleaded Gasoline

   Today Week Ago Month Ago Year Ago
 National $2.45 $2.46 $2.50 $2.41
 Maryland $2.42 $2.38 $2.41 $2.35
 Annapolis $2.39 $2.34 $2.36 $2.32
 Baltimore $2.39 $2.35 $2.37 $2.33
 Cumberland $2.49 $2.51 $2.62 $2.43
 Frederick $2.39 $2.37 $2.39 $2.33
 Hagerstown $2.44 $2.42 $2.50 $2.39
 Salisbury $2.37 $2.32 $2.31 $2.27
 Washington Suburbs(MD only) $2.49 $2.47 $2.53 $2.42
 Crude Oil $44.76per barrel(2/28/20) $53.38per barrel(2/21/20) $51.56per barrel(1/31/20) $55.80per barrel(3/1/20)

At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $44.76 per barrel, a whopping $8.62 lower than last Friday’s close. Crude oil prices were on the rise until the start of this week but have since dropped by 13% (since Monday’s close of $51.43). The market continues to feel the effects of the spread of the coronavirus and how that could slow oil and gas consumption. Overall, oil has dropped almost 27% since the start of 2020. China is the epicenter of the virus outbreak and is the largest purchaser of oil in the world. As the Chinese economy takes a hit, so does their need for oil. With oil demand pushing lower, crude prices are following.

The Weekend

“Local gas prices have been on a bit of a merry-go-round ride since the start of 2020,” says Ragina C. Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Pump prices in the week ahead could see further volatility depending on the movement of the oil market as well as U.S. gasoline demand and stock level numbers.”

The Week Ahead

The effects of a huge fire at a Carson, California oil refinery late Tuesday night are being watched for the potential to increase gas prices on the West Coast. Depending on the extent of the damage and the amount of time it will take for the refinery to get back up and running will come into play at the pump, particularly in California. The price jump could be stifled a bit because of the lower crude prices currently seen in the market and the low demand for gasoline at this time of year.


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David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in Digital Marketing, eventually leading him back to his passion. David started The Southern Maryland Chronicle in December 2017 and has grown it to become the #1 news source in Southern Maryland.

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