Farmington gas prices see largest one-week decline since April

Weekly AAA survey shows 6-cent reduction to $4.88 a gallon

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • Farmington continues to experience the highest gas prices in the state by a wide margin at $4.88 a gallon.
  • Farmington continues to experience the highest gas prices in the state by a wide margin. The average in Albuquerque on July 14 was only $4.29 a gallon.
  • It was $4.57 in Las Cruces and $4.47 in Santa Fe.

FARMINGTON − After several weeks of rapidly rising prices, drivers in the Farmington area finally are seeing a reduction in the cost of gasoline, with local prices experiencing their biggest one-week decline since the middle of April this week.

According to the AAA New Mexico Weekend Gas Watch released July 14, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded fuel in Farmington on that date was $4.88 − 6 cents less than a week earlier. That was the biggest one-week decline in the area since the price fell from $4.44 a gallon on April 7 to $4.36 a gallon on April 14.

That price decline was mirrored across New Mexico, where the average price fell even more dramatically, going from $4.57 on July 7 to $4.44 on July 14. Nationally, the price of gas fell from $4.75 on July 7 to $4.60 a week later.

Farmington continues to experience the highest gas prices in the state by a wide margin. The average in Albuquerque on July 14 was only $4.29 a gallon. It was $4.57 in Las Cruces and $4.47 in Santa Fe.

Gas prices have remained steady or fallen every week since the middle of June, when they hit their peak in most locations across the United States. On June 11, the average price of a gallon of unleaded fuel topped out at a record $4.99 a gallon in Farmington, although many stations were charging well in excess of $5.

The statewide average hit a peak of $4.83 on June 15, and prices topped out nationally at $5.02 a gallon on June 14.

While it may seem like consumers have survived the worst of things for now, with prices seemingly having stabilized, Josh Zuber, a spokesman for AAA Texas/New Mexico, said there are few solid indications about how the market will behave in the months ahead.

Gas prices in Farmington remain the highest in New Mexico, but they have stabilized and even come down slightly in recently weeks.

"There's so much volatility in the oil and gas market," he said, citing the continuing war in Ukraine and the many unknowns surrounding the supply side of the issue. "But on the demand side of the equation, we have had some dips, especially right before and after the Independence Day holiday, and that's providing people with some relief at the pumps. Additionally, there's the price of crude oil, which has been below $100 a barrel for the past few days now."

According to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gasoline demand fell 14% this week after the holiday week, when summertime driving typically reaches its height. The four-week average for gas demand for the week ending July 8 was 8.7 million barrels, compared to the four-week average of nearly 9 million barrels a week earlier.

Gas demand is running well behind where it was a year ago. The four-week average on July 9, 2021, was nearly 9.5 million barrels a day.

In fact, demand for gasoline in America has run below that of the previous year since April, according to EIA figures. Demand was running at or near 9.5 million barrels a day from late June 2021 through early September 2021, approaching that level again for a six-week level in the fall.

But it hasn't come close to that mark since then, with demand declining to a low of approximately 8.2 million barrels a day in January before increasing slightly as the weather began to turn warmer. Demand across the nation has been largely stable since then, changing very little since early February.

Zuber said surveys conducted by AAA indicate some motorists may be driving less because of the summer surge in gas prices. But he said there typically isn't a significant reduction in gas demand until after Labor Day weekend, when children return to school and vacation season comes to a close.

He hinted that demand could inch up again over the next several weeks, and that could lead to higher gas prices.

"As we move through July, July is typically a very big driving month, if not the biggest driving month, with a lot of travel," he said. "And if we get another big shock to the system … prices could quickly turn back to an upward trend."

On the other hand, with many economic forecasters warning that a mild recession is imminent, the opposite could be true, he said.

"It would appear as through they're factoring in the possibility of an economic downturn, and that could affect the demand for oil and gas prices," he said. "If that happens, that could put downward pressure on prices at the pump."

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or Support local journalism with a digital subscription: