Gasoline Prices Drop in Maine

Maine’s average gasoline price shed almost 6 cents during the past week due to an unusual springtime occurrence of sufficient supply and comparatively weak demand. But, with the improvement in weather, demand is anticipated to rise and push current gasoline prices higher.

A recent market survey shows that the most recent average gasoline price in Maine was $3.64 per gallon, a rate that is lower by 5.7 cents compared to last week, 14.6 cents down versus the past month and 33.4 cents less relative to the past year.

At the national level, the most recent average price of gasoline was $3.58 per gallon, a drop of 4 cents last week, showed the gas price tracking website.

Petroleum analysts are admitting that what is happening this spring is certainly unusual. The last time the price of gasoline at the end of March was lower compared to the time it started was in 2003; that is why this drop in the gasoline price does not often happen.

According to national reports, the supplies of gas and crude oil are sufficient, and the average operating rate of the refineries on the East Coast is around 88 percent. Further, what is happening at the moment signifies that the supply of gas is higher than the demand.

Maine’s gasoline prices reached peak levels in February due to a seasonal price jump when refineries shifted from making winter to summer blend gas. The shift necessarily requires a little output reduction. On the 13th of February, the rate of operation of refineries on the East Coast was only 75.9 percent of full capacity.

Other analysts are saying that this year’s transition appeared to be smoother compared to the past years. Prices may keep on falling in the short term. However, the fall is not likely to become a trend in the long term. Warmer weather is coming, and that typically pushes consumer demand higher and, consequently, leads to higher prices.

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, gasoline demand nationwide will be higher. Currently, it appears that the nationwide average gasoline price reached its highest level on February 27 at $3.79 per gallon. However, the summer driving season has not really begun yet, so it cannot be definitely said that the highest prices of the year has passed.

By: Chris Termeer