Christine Delise
Sr. Public Relations Specialist, MD
O: (410) 616-1900 (ext. 4361153)
C: (443) 244-7253
cdelise@aaamidatlantic.com

The Week

The national gas price average has increased by three cents this week, but just a five-cent drop would bring the U.S. average to the lowest since December 2016. Just a two-cent drop for Maryland would bring the average to that same milestone. However, as crude oil prices continue to climb it is unlikely that pump prices will drop much lower than what drivers have seen so far this year.

 

Today’s national gas price average is $2.27 per gallon, which is up three cents in the last week, down four cents in the last month, and is 30 cents less than this time last year.

 

Maryland’s average price is three cents less than the national average at $2.24 per gallon. The state average is up a penny from last week, but three cents less than last month, and 32 cents per gallon less than last year on this date. Most regions across the state continue to experience another weekly uptick at the pump, although Hagerstown continues to trend downward. 

 

At the close of NYMEX trading Thursday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $53.13 per barrel, a $1.06 increase compared to last Thursday’s settlement price. Despite the price rise, the commodity is pricing approximately $12 per barrel less than this time last year, helping to keep prices significantly lower than a year ago.

 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported an eight million barrel build in crude oil stocks this week; however, the crude market appears to be focusing on global growth concerns first, and crude inventory readings second.

 

One global situation that could potentially play into oil prices is the government upheaval taking place in Venezuela and the U.S. government’s reaction to it. The Trump administration has threatened to impose sanctions on Venezuela, whose oil production has been sliding amid political turmoil and an economic crisis. The U.S. imported approximately 17.7 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products from Venezuela in October 2018, according to the EIA. 

 

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES 

Regular Unleaded Gasoline 

 

1/25/19

Week Ago

Month Ago

Year Ago

National

$2.27

$2.24

$2.31

$2.57

Maryland

$2.24

$2.23

$2.27

$2.56

Annapolis

$2.19

$2.17

$2.19

$2.56

Baltimore

$2.20

$2.18

$2.19

$2.58

Cumberland

$2.35

$2.34

$2.45

$2.64

Frederick

$2.21

$2.20

$2.23

$2.58

Hagerstown

$2.29

$2.32

$2.41

$2.66

Salisbury

$2.15

$2.14

$2.12

$2.50

Washington Suburbs

(MD only)

$2.34

$2.35

$2.44

$2.63

Crude Oil

$53.13

per barrel

(Thursday, 1/24/19)

$52.07

per barrel

(1/17/19)

$42.53

per barrel

(12/24/18)

$65.61

per barrel

(1/24/18)

 

The Weekend

As most Maryland regional gas price averages show signs of slight increases, all eyes are on the price of crude oil,” says Ragina Cooper Averella, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Crude oil prices, which have increased by nearly $7 per barrel since the start of the year, will be a dominant factor in determining if drivers will pay slightly cheaper or more expensive gasoline prices in the coming weeks.”

 

The Week Ahead

Rising gas prices are not uncommon during the month of January.  Last January, pump prices rose nationwide and jumped by 10-20 cents in various states, including Maryland, due to rising oil prices.  Crude oil has risen by nearly $7 per barrel so far this year, largely due to reduced OPEC output and renewed optimism for a US-China trade deal.

 

If oil prices make additional gains in the coming week, motorists could see another round of rising prices at the pump. Regardless of any upswing, AAA still expects gas prices overall to average less than last year. 

 

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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than 975,000 members in Maryland.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit AAA.com.

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