Sr. Public Relations Specialist, MD
O: (410) 616-1900 (ext. 4361153)
C: (443) 244-7253
TOWSON, MD (November 27, 2017) –– This December motorists will not find significant holiday savings at the gas pump. Today’s national gas price average for regular is $2.51, which is 38 cents per gallon more than this time last year, while Maryland’s average, at $2.47, is 30 cents more than the price a year ago. While AAA does expect gas prices to decline between now and the end of the year, motorists will still pay the highest November and December gas prices since 2014.
“Even though AAA is forecasting a 5 to 20 cents decrease in coming weeks, December gas prices will be higher compared to year-end prices from the last two years,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Government and Public Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Still, gas prices remain relatively reasonable compared to prices we were seeing just a few years ago, so the cost of filling up is unlikely to discourage year-end travel – or shopping.”
In 2017, gas prices have strayed from typical trends. Historically, year-end gas prices tend to be relatively cheap due to a drop-off in fall gasoline demand around Labor Day and the switch to less expensive winter-blend gasoline in mid-September. This year, the typical factors that drive gas prices down in winter were outweighed by the impact of two major hurricanes, steady consumer demand and continued growth in gasoline exports.
2017’s Tumultuous Trends
Highs and Lows: Summer driving season traditionally brings the highest gas prices of the year and year-end brings the lowest, but not this year:
National: $2.67 on September 11
Maryland: $2.75 on September 6
National: $2.23 on July 5
Maryland: $2.21 on June 30
Exports: According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in the first half of 2017 U.S. exports of total motor gasoline averaged a record high of 756,000 b/d, a three percent increase from the first half of 2016. The second half of 2017 has seen this trend continue to climb, with exports peaking to one of their highest points in 2017 – 906,000 b/d – last month.
Production: According to Baker Hughes, Inc., the total oil rig count is currently 747, which is 273 more rigs than last year’s count at this time.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Regional Outlook
Many motorists in Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region have seen sizeable price increases at the pump during November, as current gasoline inventories were sitting at their lowest inventory points for this time of year since 2014. The increases were likely due to a lack of gasoline imports that has contributed to tighter than usual supply in the region. However, pump prices in the last week have started to decline and will continue to drop, especially if imports move into the region.
CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES
On Friday, November 24, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Crude oilsettled to the highest price in two years to$58.95 per barrel, up 93 centsfrom Wednesday’s close (the market was closed Thursday for the holiday).
2018 Look Ahead:
Motorists can expect gas prices to continue to trend cheaper the first few months of 2018, with the potential to see the national gas price average in the $2.25-$2.35 range by February. OPEC’s November 30, 2017 meeting and any decisions to further cut or keep production rates stable will influence longer-term forecasts for 2018.
New Tools and Enhancement Unveiled at GasPrices.AAA.com
In time for year-end road trip planning, AAA has added new tools to GasPrices.AAA.com to provide more comprehensive gas price data and insight to motorists and journalists.
In addition to the daily national gas price average for regular, mid-grade, premium and diesel gas, AAA now provides the daily E-85 national average.
Enhanced features to the Top Trends page allows visitors to sort data in various ways (high to low pricing, by date) and easily identify changes by directional colored arrows: increases (red); decreases (green); or no change (grey). Lastly, the top trends page now offers the ability to query gas prices at the state metro level.
With the addition of 175 new metropolitan areas and corresponding gas prices, state coverage is more comprehensive. In addition, each state now touts county gas price averages via a state heat map.
A new ‘State Gas Price Averages’ page provides an overview of each state’s daily gas price for regular, mid-grade, premium and diesel fuel. From this page, a visitor can also click on a state name and be taken directly to that state’s landing page. Users can sort data on this page alphabetically by state name or highest/lowest price by fuel grade.
Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Visit AAA.com/Mobile to download the app.
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Towson, MD 21286
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than 937,000 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.