D.C.-area gas prices fell for the first time in nine weeks through Father’s Day weekend and Monday’s Juneteenth observance. But can drivers expect the downward trend to last?
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said there are a few reasons for the drop in prices.
“The tremendous drop in the price of oil over the last couple of weeks — some jitters as there could be an economic slowdown,” De Haan tells WTOP. “In addition, we saw a less disappointing report from the government on gasoline and oil inventories last Wednesday … And, as a result, that has pushed retail gas prices down in the last week.”
Tuesday morning, gas in D.C. costs $5.03 a gallon on average, down 11.3 cents from Monday and 18.6 cents lower from last week’s average, according to GasBuddy data.
In Maryland, gas is priced at $4.94 a gallon on average, down 7.2 cents from the average a week ago.
And in Virginia, the average cost of gas is $4.82 a gallon, down around a cent from Monday and down 6 cents from last week.
“It’s a trend that could last a few more weeks,” De Haan said. “Beyond that, it’s difficult to gauge where we are going.”
With the peak of the summer travel season approaching, the relief may not last for long as demand goes up.
Summer travel bringing pain to the pump
A survey GasBuddy released in May found that, even though most Americans adjusted travel plans because of steep gas prices, a majority of Americans will hit the road for summer vacays.
That survey states that 33% of Americans plan to travel for Independence Day, making the Fourth of July weekend the second most popular time for summer travel.
De Haan said he expects prices will remain high and may go even higher, citing concerns that the economy could be slowing down in response to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates.
The impending hurricane season could bring pain at the pump if storms cause refineries to shut down.
Some suggestions De Haan gave on saving on gas and increasing fuel efficiency include driving 10 mph to 15 mph slower on highways and limiting acceleration by coasting up to red lights. He also recommended shopping around for lower prices and looking out for discounts on gas.
De Haan expects prices to return to the $3 range, but that decrease could take a year or two with the ongoing war in Ukraine and a need to increase refining capacity.