Maddy Michaud, of Windham, gases up Thursday at Citgo in Westbrook, where prices matched the statewide average of $3.42 a gallon. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Gas prices that typically spike in summer as vacationers hit the road are instead falling due to weak demand and strong global supplies. But not so much that motorists notice.

“Not really,” Maddy Michaud said Thursday when asked if she’s seen a drop in prices. The Windham resident, who was putting gas in her SUV – a $75 tab, she said, to fill it completely – said as far as she can tell, the price has hovered from $3 to $3.50 a gallon “for a while now.”

She doesn’t plan long trips this summer, using her vehicle to get to her job in Portland and allowing her to fill up just once a month.

At the Citgo station on Main Street in Westbrook where Michaud was making her purchase, gas was selling at $3.42 a gallon, which is the average price statewide.

That’s down from $3.52 on Memorial Day and $3.60 a gallon two weeks earlier, according to data from GasBuddy. In the same two-week period last year, gas prices in Portland rose to $3.53 a gallon from $3.44.

The price of gas peaked at $3.65 a gallon on April 30 and has been falling since, with Maine prices remaining close to national averages.


In 2022, three months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rattled global energy markets, gas prices reached $4.77 in Portland on Memorial Day, up from $4.63 two weeks earlier, according to numbers from GasBuddy.

The U.S. price on June 10 was $3.39 a gallon, down from $3.58 May 6, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. U.S. demand slipped to about 9 million barrels a day in early June, about 200,000 gallons less than the same time last year, the EIA said.

Industry analysts say the drop in prices at the pump is due not only to lackluster demand, but also to strong supply and relatively mild global oil prices.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said reduced demand can be traced to a “COVID hangover” in many markets.

“With the reopening of the economy in 2022 everyone hit the road,” he said. “Those who didn’t pushed back to the following year when prices were down.”

Inflation also is a culprit, driving up the cost of restaurants and lodging, and giving vacationers second thoughts about summer driving plans, De Haan said.


Prices also typically rise in the spring because there’s less capacity as refineries are scheduled for maintenance, he said. Capacity is now 95% and prices are “drifting a little bit lower,” De Haan said.

Another factor helping push down prices is a burgeoning supply. The International Energy Agency reported recently that global oil production is “set to ramp up, easing market strains and pushing spare capacity toward levels unseen outside of the COVID (pandemic).”

Andy Price, president and chief executive officer of Competitive Energy Services, a Portland consulting group, said oil “has been struggling to maintain high prices” and seems to be “locked in” at $80 a barrel, plus or minus.”

“The consensus is the market is well supplied,” he said.

Lower gasoline prices could help President Biden in his bid for a second term. The U.S. Department of Energy has announced it will sell 1 million barrels of gasoline by June 30, ahead of the Independence Day holiday, “strategically timed and structured to maximize its impact on gasoline prices, helping to lower prices at the pump as Americans hit the road this summer.”

Observers say it’s too small to make much of a difference. The U.S. used about 9 million barrels of gasoline a day in 2023, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“It sends a message he’s doing something,” Price said. “It’s more symbolic than anything, I’m sure.”

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