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Gas prices in Maine rose slightly last week, ending a prolonged slide in prices at the pump due to the coronavirus pandemic and a global price war earlier this spring.
The average price for a gallon of gas rose half a cent to $1.78, according to the website GasBuddy. That’s still 10.4 cents lower than a month ago and $1.04 than a year earlier.
Prices in the state ranged from a low of $1.31 a gallon to a high of $2.19. The counties with the lowest prices include Piscataquis ($1.59), Knox ($1.62) and Penobscot ($1.63), according to GasBuddy.
Nationally, gas prices rose 1.5 cents to an average of $1.75 a gallon. That price point, not unlike in Maine, remains well below where it was a month (14.8 cents lower) or even a year ago ($1.14 lower), GasBuddy reports.
“It’s becoming a bit clearer that those 99 cent per gallon gas prices from the COVID-19 pandemic are solidly behind us as gasoline demand rebounds across the country as cities and states slowly reopen,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.
Across the country, more states, including Maine, are moving to relax coronavirus-related restrictions to allow their economies to start rolling again. The economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus has shuttered businesses and led to massive spikes in joblessness surpassing those seen even in the Great Recession.
It also comes after Russia and Saudi Arabia struck a deal last month to slash oil production by 9.7 billion barrels a day, or 10 percent of global output, in May and June, according to The New York Times. That deal was reached after a price war between them that saw a further rise in the global glut of oil at a time when demand has fallen 35 percent.
“While oil may continue to struggle, a disconnect between low oil prices and rising gasoline prices has emerged at the hands of refineries that have slowed production over the past month to avoid flooding the market with unwanted gasoline. As demand stages a rebound, it remains to be seen how quickly refiners will raise production to meet the locations that have or will begin to re-open in the days and weeks ahead. For now, expect prices to see upward potential — but only in the lower priced states — as we await a boost in gasoline production,” GasBuddy’s DeHaan said.
Elsewhere in New England, gas prices rose 0.3 cents last week to an average of $1.83 a gallon in New Hampshire, 1.5 cents to $1.90 in Massachusetts, 2.8 cents to $1.91 in Rhode Island and 4.8 cents in Connecticut. Prices remained stable in Vermont at an average of $1.87, according to GasBuddy.