AAA: Gas Prices drop double digits since Harvey

gas pricesMany Mid-Atlantic drivers are seeing double digit decreases in gas prices compared to the high prices seen following Hurricane Harvey, which shut down much of the Gulf Coast’s refinery operations.

“Gas prices have fallen steadily for the past four weeks, inching ever-closer to pre-Harvey levels, and now we are seeing gasoline demand drop alongside prices,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for  AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The latest demand figures show the lowest since the week Hurricane Harvey hit and can likely be the beginning of a downward demand trend indicating even cheaper gas prices to come this fall.”

Since reaching two-year highs following the storm, prices across the state have dropped 26 cents. Gas prices should continue to drop following a downward demand trend, typical for this time of year.

Today’s national average is $2.47, which is three cents lower than this time last week, 17 cents lower than this time last month and 22 cents higher than this time last year.

At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $51.45 per barrel, $2.16 higher than the previous week’s closing price. Decreasing fall demand combined with ample supply and slowed U.S. production has kept downward pressure on crude oil prices. While market watchers are keeping an eye on U.S. crude oil exports, attention is now focused on whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will extend their reduced production agreement beyond their March 2018 deadline in order to drive crude oil prices higher. Since late last year, efforts by OPEC to rebalance the market have had positive impacts on prices helping to buoy crude oil above the 2016 low of $26.21.

After reaching a two-year high of $2.67 per gallon on Sept. 7, the national average price for regular gasoline has fallen 20 cents to $2.47 per gallon on Oct. 15, as U.S. refinery capacity and gasoline production gradually came back online following Hurricane Harvey. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts the U.S. regular gasoline retail price will average $2.49 per gallon in October and fall to an average of $2.33 per gallon in December.

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