George Madden of Gorham fills up his truck Friday at Panda Market in Buxton, where regular gasoline was selling for $3.99 a gallon. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

After weeks of record-breaking gas prices, Mainers are starting to see some relief at the pump, but industry experts say it’s too soon to say if the downward trend will continue.

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Maine was $4.77 on Friday according to GasBuddy, a Boston-based fuel price analysis firm that tracks fuel prices across the country.

York County reported the lowest countywide average at $4.61 a gallon, significantly lower than in neighboring Cumberland County ($4.85). Androscoggin County had the highest average at $4.86.

Even the highest prices in the state reflect a decrease from mid-June, when Maine’s average gas prices hit $5.09, the highest per-gallon cost on record for the state.

The national average has declined for four weeks straight, the longest decline in average gas prices since before the pandemic, according to GasBuddy. Prices in Maine are still generally higher than the national average, which on Friday was $4.55 per gallon. 

Diesel prices also are declining, with prices at about $5.92 in Maine and $5.59 nationally. That’s down from the previous state record of $6.39 in May.


Charlie Summers, president and CEO of the Maine Energy Marketers Association, said it’s still too early to read into the price changes. 

“Seeing the cost of energy, or gas in this case, recede, that’s welcome on all fronts,” he said. “But it is a volatile situation with the world commodities market. It remains very fluid.” 

While the downward trend has been positive, these prices are still substantially higher than last year’s average of $3.11. 

Except for in Buxton. 

At Panda Market, a combination gas station, convenience store and restaurant that serves Chinese food, pizza and sandwiches on Parker Farm Road, fuel is reliably less expensive than its competitors. 

On Friday, it was $3.99 a gallon for regular gasoline.


A day earlier, over a dozen cars waited in line, sometimes for 20 minutes or more, to fill their tanks (and often several gas cans) with what is believed to be the lowest-priced gas in the state.

Customers fuel up at Panda Market in Buxton, which was selling regular gasoline for $3.99 per gallon on Friday. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Chris Ross, a Buxton resident, is a regular customer at Panda Market. He lives just a few minutes away and it’s always the least expensive option: a win-win. 

“It’s like this every day,” he said of the line of cars.

He estimated that Panda Market has been consistently busy for at least a month, but noted that the $3.99 was the lowest it’s been since prices spiked earlier this year. Ross said a friend told him the gas dipped below $4 a gallon and he “jumped on it.” It’s a relief to fill up for $75 again, he said, especially because he has a roughly 30-minute commute to Gray each day. 

The cheap gas was a strategic business decision, said Mei Yang, owner of Panda Market. Buxton is a small town in York County and the low prices bring people from all over.

“Without it, nobody comes here and they won’t know what we have,” she said. With the low prices, customers come by, they stop in, see all the multi-purpose (store) has to offer and often buy something. 


“It’s why everybody knows us.”

Gas and oil prices fell during the height of the pandemic because of low demand as lockdowns and travel restrictions kept motorists home. But as restrictions eased and people began to venture out again, demand started to rebound. Supply has not kept pace, causing prices to climb.

Then in early March, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States imposed sanctions on Russia, including a ban on importing oil.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said previously that the compounding issues created a rare environment of rapid price hikes. 


Things are starting to change a few months later, he said.


Gasoline supply has started to improve. Inventories have risen for three out of the last four weeks, which has helped lower prices, De Haan said. Plus, with inflation “running rampant,” the federal reserve has been raising interest rates. Recession fears have sparked concerns around a drop-off in demand, he said.

De Haan said prices could stay down.

“The risk is that if we see a major hurricane, refinery disruption, supply disruption, we could see prices surging down the road,” he said. “Having said that, we haven’t seen that yet. There’s not an inherent risk yet, but that could change.”

Lilly Driesen, 13, watches as her mother’s girlfriend, Amy Harmon of Limington, fills her truck with gas at Panda Market in Buxton. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Prices are going down, particularly in York County, but some customers remain wary.

At XtraMart in Saco on Thursday, gas was $4.47 a gallon. 

Jack Ackley, a Buxton resident, said he was glad to see the price a little lower, but said there’s no relief yet. Ackley has been thinking about getting a new vehicle, he said, but the prices have him considering smaller, more efficient cars, rather than a truck. 


Down the road, gas at Bob and Mike’s Mini Mart was $4.39. 

Tricia Conley, a Saco resident, said her behavior hasn’t changed much as the prices have fluctuated over the last few months. 

However, she hopes that as we enter the cold months, the price of heating oil, which has also risen sharply this year, will go down too. 

“For people on fixed incomes, it’s just unbearable,” she said.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story