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

TOWSON, MD (August 6, 2018)U.S. gasoline demand last week was near an all-time record high, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). More so, the latest EIA data shows gasoline inventories tightening from 240 million barrels at the end of June down to 231 million barrels at the end of July. The boost in demand and drop in inventory have driven the national gas price average to the most expensive gas price seen in August since 2014.

While today’s national gas price average of $2.87 is one-cent more than last week, it is the same price as one month ago, yet 52-cents more than this time last year.

Maryland was among the top 10 states with the largest pump price jump this week, as well as neighboring Pennsylvania and Delaware.  The state average gas cost of $2.85 is three cents higher than last week and a month ago and 50 cents more than last year on this date. Surveyed metro areas across the state experienced weekly increases ranging from as little as a penny in Hagerstown, which increased seven cents on average the prior week, to an eight-cent week over week increase in Salisbury, which at $2.79 per gallon is still the lowest average in the state. Cumberland’s prices remained stagnant at $2.91.

 

“We are likely going to see an end of summer pump price rally as inventories continue to tighten, especially on the East Coast, which is unwelcomed news to families taking August road trips,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “This week’s EIA demand and inventory reports will give further indication of how much higher the national gas price average could jump before summer is over.”

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Gasoline Supplies

Five Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region states land on this week’s top 10 largest jumps: Delaware (+6 cents), Tennessee (+4 cents), North Carolina (+3 cents), Maryland (+3 cents) and Pennsylvania (+2 cents). Rhode Island (-1 cent) was the only state to see a decrease at the pump while many other states’ averages held steady on the week: West Virginia ($2.86), Massachusetts ($2.90), Washington, D.C. ($3.05) and Connecticut ($3.07)

Motorists in neighboring Delaware ($2.83) are feeling the biggest pain at the pump. Compared to this time last month, gas prices are nine-cents more expensive for the state. That is the largest month-over-month gas price difference not only for the region, but also the country.

During July, total gasoline inventory levels in the region dropped from 66.4 million bbl to 64 million bbl. The latest EIA numbers report inventories were drawn down by 1.2 million bbl – the largest draw of any region for the week ending July 27. With gasoline import numbers slowing, this region could see inventory levels really tighten and gas prices amplify despite having a year-over-year surplus.

 

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES 

Regular Unleaded Gasoline

 

 

8/6/18

 

Week Ago

 

Month Ago

 

Year Ago

 

National

 

$2.87

 

$2.86

 

$2.87

 

$2.35

 

Maryland

 

$2.85

 

$2.82

 

$2.82

 

$2.35

 

Annapolis

 

$2.81

 

$2.77

 

$2.77

 

$2.33

 

Baltimore

 

$2.82

 

$2.78

 

$2.79

 

$2.34

 

Cumberland

 

$2.91

 

$2.91

 

$2.99

 

$2.38

 

Frederick

 

$2.84

 

$2.80

 

$2.81

 

$2.34

 

Hagerstown

 

$2.87

 

$2.86

 

$2.79

 

$2.33

 

Salisbury

 

$2.79

 

$2.71

 

$2.73

 

$2.29

 

Washington Suburbs

(MD only)

 

$2.93

 

$2.91

 

$2.92

 

$2.39

 

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped 47 cents to settle at $68.49. Oil prices made some gains last week, but are ending at a loss after EIA reported that total oil inventories across the country grew by 5.6 million barrels last week. The build in crude stocks was supported by crude exports falling to 1.31 million barrels per day.

 

Crude price losses may not extend into this week as global supply concerns re-emerge. One concern is that based on recent reports, Saudi Arabia’s crude output unexpectedly fell 200,000 barrels per day last month. Saudi Arabia is the largest producer in OPEC, so a drop in its production means that the planned increase in crude production that the cartel and its partners announced in June may be moving slower than expected. Additionally, an announcement on U.S.-imposed sanctions against Iran is expected early this week, which could heighten geopolitical concerns in the crude market.

 

In related news, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., the U.S. lost two oil rigs last week, bringing the total to 859. Currently, there are 94 more active rigs this year than last year at this time.

 

AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:

 

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Mailing Address:
8600 LaSalle Road, Ste 639
Towson, MD 21286

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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