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Gas prices fall to four-year lows

TOWSON, MD—The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline dropped below $2 per gallon on Tuesday for the first time in four years.

Tuesday’s national gas price average stands at $1.99. In Maryland, the average is $2.02, down more than 63 cents since last year.

AAA expects gas prices to push cheaper, with the national price average hitting $1.75 or less in April.

The decline is due to COVID-19’s chilling effect on the global economy and the crude oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Crude has plummeted to $20 per barrel – a closing price not seen since 2002. For the last 52 weeks, crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) has averaged $56 per barrel with the national pump price average at $2.63.

“AAA expects gas prices to keep dropping as cheap crude combines with the realities of people staying home and less demand for gas,” said Ragina C. Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Today, motorists can find gas for $1.99 or less at 68 percent of gas stations in the country.”

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While demand is diminishing, COVID-19 is not impacting the U.S. gasoline supply. The U.S. has an unusual amount of winter-blend gasoline still available for this time of year. This caused the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to extend the sale of winter-blend past the May 1 deadline to May 20. The agency said they would continue to monitor and may extend the waiver again.

“The EPA’s extension of the winter-blend gasoline waiver will contribute to sustained lower prices, especially as U.S. gasoline demand readings look more like winter-driving season than spring,” added Ali.

AAA forecasts that until crude oil prices and gasoline demand increase, cheaper gas prices are here for the foreseeable future.

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