By: Ragina C. Ali, AAA Mid-Atlantic
Since Memorial Day, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has increased by just one cent. The statewide gas price average in Maryland increased two cents on the week, but is 74 cents lower than one year ago. According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gasoline demand increased last week, coupled with a 700,000 barrel decrease in total domestic stocks. The national average holding steady means that gas demand and supply are largely in sync, which will likely help to stabilize pump prices for motorists.
The gas price average in Maryland today is $2.01, which is up respectively two cents in the last week and 13 cents in the last month, but down 74 cents from this date last year.
Today’s national gas price average is $1.97, up three cents in the last week, up 21 cents in the last month and down 84 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)||$2.09||$2.08||$2.04||$2.84|
|Crude Oil||$35.49per barrel(5/29/20)||$33.25per barrel(5/22/20)||$19.78per barrel(5/1/20)||$53.50per barrel(5/31/19)|
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $35.49 per barrel, $2.24 higher than last Friday’s close. Crude prices spiked earlier in the week amid increased market focus on rising demand. However, domestic crude prices ultimately fell after EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventories increased last week. The large increase may be a sign that domestic oil demand could be slowing during a time when it typically grows because of more motorists driving. If domestic crude demand begins to flatten or decrease, crude prices could decrease.
“Area drivers have seen significantly less expensive gas prices for the past two months,” says Ragina C. Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “While motorists have begun to see pump prices increase somewhat as of late, AAA does not expect the summer average to be as expensive as last year’s season.”
The Week Ahead
One factor that could send prices higher is a string of severe hurricanes. The 2020 hurricane season begins June 1 and forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. Storms that hit the Gulf Coast region particularly hard could interrupt supplies and send prices sharply higher, at least temporarily.