Gas pump

While neighboring states, Virginia and Delaware, are enjoying a state average below $3 per gallon of gasoline, Maryland’s average price at the pump, although trending downward, still remains above $3 per gallon.

However, many retail stations on the Eastern Shore and in the Baltimore Metro area are selling gasoline below $3 per gallon.

Crude oil continued to trade in the $80 per barrel range this week, even testing sub-$80 per barrel levels mid-week. 

Low demand combined with abundant supply has kept downward pressure on global oil prices. 

The impact of falling prices is currently front of mind for many in the market, and attention is now focused on whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will alter production in order to influence prices higher. 

OPEC members are scheduled to meet at the end of November and will reportedly not hold an emergency meeting before then based on current prices, which has supported the bearish sentiment for crude oil. 

Additionally, while violence continues in Iraq, market watchers still assess the threat to oil production to be relatively limited. 

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $82.70 per barrel at Thursday’s close, marking the eighth consecutive settlement below $90 per barrel and the lowest price since December 2012. 

As of Friday late morning, the commodity was trading slightly higher in the $83 per barrel range.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted in its weekly report that crude oil inventories saw an 8.9 million barrel build from the previous week, to 370.6 million barrels. 

Gasoline stocks dropped by 4-million barrels to 205.7 million barrels.  Gasoline demand got a solid bump to just over 9 million barrels per day (bpd) after picking up 400,000 bpd last week to 9.043 million bpd. Decent weather and falling retail prices had probably inspired the stronger demand figures.

The Weekend

“To motorists’ delight, prices at the pump continue to drop to the lowest level of the year in many areas,” said Christine Sarames Delise, senior public affairs specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. Weak global demand and the highest U.S. oil output in nearly 30 years are contributing to the downward pressure on global oil prices, and hurricanes have not been a problem this year in the Gulf of Mexico. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, AAA expects gas prices could drop another 10-20 cents between now and the end of the year.”

The Week Ahead

AAA projects drivers in as many as 20 states could enjoy an average price of less than three dollars per gallon before the end of the year, given relatively inexpensive crude oil prices, healthy supplies, low demand, and barring any unexpected calamities that could threaten supply, production or distribution of oil or gasoline. 

As of October 17, the average price at the pump in 13 states, including neighboring Virginia and Delaware, is now below $3.00 per gallon.

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES

Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)

 

10/17/14

Week Ago

Month Ago

Year Ago

National

$3.14

$3.24

$3.37

$3.36

Maryland

$3.12

$3.23

$3.34

$3.33

Baltimore

$3.08

$3.21

$3.33

$3.29

Cumberland

$3.20

$3.33

$3.41

$3.41

Hagerstown

$3.23

$3.29

$3.34

$3.40

Salisbury

$3.00

$3.12

$3.36

$3.23

Washington Suburbs

(MD only)

$3.17

$3.26

$3.36

$3.36

Crude Oil

$82.70

per barrel

(at Thursday’s close, 10/16/14)

$85.77

per barrel (Thursday, 10/9/14)

$94.88

per barrel (9/16/14)

$102.29

per barrel (10/16/13)

 

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