Maryland gas prices are the lowest they’ve been in months and among the lowest in the country, although Frederick’s average price ranks among the middle of metropolitan areas in the state.
But the prices won’t necessarily lead to more travel, and they may be headed back up with international tensions on the rise.
At $2.68 per gallon, Maryland’s average price is the lowest it’s been since April and substantially lower than the national average of $2.82, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. As of Friday, Maryland’s average was the 16th-lowest nationally.
That price is down 6 cents from last week, and 12 cents from last month.
Prices usually go down this time of year, as stations start using a winter blend of gasoline that is cheaper to refine, said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Christine Delise.
The lowest price in Maryland among those collected by AAA was in Salisbury, at $2.55 per gallon, followed by Annapolis at $2.62 and Baltimore at $2.63.
Frederick was fourth at $2.69 per gallon, followed by Cumberland at $2.80 and Hagerstown at $2.81.
Prices in western Maryland tend to be higher than those on the Eastern Shore and in other parts of the state, Delise said.
That can depend on factors such as distribution costs and competition, as well as the fact that Delaware and Virginia tend to have lower prices, while western Maryland borders Pennsylvania, with some of the higher prices, she said.
And while prices have been relatively low lately, they may go back up soon, as the United States prepares to put sanctions in place against Iran that will affect that country’s oil industry.
The sanctions scheduled to take effect Nov. 4 will affect Iranian petroleum, petroleum products, and petrochemicals, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Boyd Saville, of Gaithersburg, said he’d noticed the lower prices, as he filled up at the Carroll Motor Fuels station on West Patrick Street.
He’d just come from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he said prices were between $3.89 and $3.99 per gallon.
Saville said the price of gas doesn’t really affect his driving habits.
“You just pay what you have to, you know?” he said.
Delise didn’t expect the lower prices to have much impact on travel.
People tend to travel less in the autumn months, although there’s usually a bump around Thanksgiving, she said.
But overall, the cooler weather and earlier sunsets mean people usually don’t travel as much in the fall.
“People tend to hunker down” when the weather cool sdown, Delise said.
Sharad Doshi, owner of the A1 Mart on Himes Avenue in Frederick, said he tries to stay competitive with other stations along the Golden Mile or on Ballenger Creek Pike. But he’s not overly worried about it.
“I don’t check every day,” he said.
His store doesn’t have any competitors nearby, and he has a regular pattern of commuters who live in the neighborhoods near his store.
And Doshi has noticed what catches the eye of customers who do shop around for the best price.
“Everybody pays attention to the [price of] regular. Nobody pays attention to the premium,” he said.