AAA: Gas prices trending cheaper
As South and Southeast states recover from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, motorists in 45 U.S. states are paying less for a gallon of gas on the week. At $2.62, today’s national gas price average is the cheapest in 14 days and five cents less than last week.
“Gas prices are dropping as the situation with refineries, pipelines and gasoline deliveries is positively progressing,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Virginia drivers will likely continue to see gas price declines in the coming weeks, barring any unforeseen weather or geopolitical events that could impact prices at the pump.”
As gas prices drop for the majority of the country, so does the nation’s gasoline inventory. The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report identifies the latest draw of 8.4 million bbl as the highest on record, much of which can be attributed to motorist fueling up in the droves in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.
Next week’s EIA report may bring another record-demand level as a continued result of Irma, but demand is expected to sharply decline across the country by the end of September.
Florida Gas Supply & Gulf Coast Refineries
Last week, at $2.73, Florida’s saw its highest gas prices since December 2014. The spike came as many gas stations faced outages as power was down and roads impassable. The good news is that in the last seven days, the state’s average has shaved off one cent. In addition, ports are open and receiving steady streams of tanker shipments as state officials continue to work with gasoline trucker and shippers to ensure timely delivery of product to retail stations. Reports indicate that the gas station gasoline outage situation is improving as stations receive deliveries.
Similarly, positive progress is being seen in the Gulf Coast. According to the Department of Energy, a total of six Gulf Coast refineries are operating at reduced rates, which is one more refinery than last week. These six facilities make-up 13 percent of refining capacity in the U.S. Five refineries continue to operate at reduced rates and three remain shut down, which represents a total of 10 percent of U.S. refining capacity.
It will likely be a few more weeks before the regions affected by Irma and Harvey are back to normal operations. Not a threat to make landfall, Hurricane Jose, a Category 1, is well off the shore of North Carolina. Currently, Hurricane Maria is closing in on the Leeward Islands and is expected to affect the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by mid-week, according to the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane season ends on November 30.