Gas prices heading back down after Harvey, Irma
Gas prices across the Mid-Atlantic are decreasing after the double hit to the United States by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
As pipelines and refineries return to their full operations in the region, prices should continue to decrease. While gas prices quickly shot up by double-digits, price decreases will instead come down gradually. The initial shuttering of refineries created an increase in demand as concerned motorists headed to the gas stations to fill up their tanks.
“Drivers across the Mid-Atlantic region are seeing lower gas prices as compared to last week’s double digit increases. While gas prices went up immediately with Hurricane Harvey they won’t fall as quickly,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “AAA continues to monitor the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Gulf Coast refineries initially shut down during Hurricane Harvey continue to come back online. Regions also faced temporary delivery delays due to Hurricane Irma, but the extended waiver of the Jones Act intends to alleviate those delays.”
Today’s national average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline stands at $2.63, three cents less than one week ago, 29 cents higher than one month ago and 48 cents higher than one year ago.
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, WTI crude oil settled at $49.89 per barrel, $2.41 cents higher than the previous week’s closing price. Crude oil prices are nearing post OPEC agreement highs hitting a four-month high on Thursday. According to the Energy Information Administration, gasoline stocks decreased by 8.4 million barrels this week, which is the largest weekly decline since 1990 when data was first recorded.
To alleviate local supply disruptions, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security approved a Jones Act waiver for areas affected by the storms. A revised Jones Act Waiver, in effect until September 22, expands the list of gasoline cargo loading and delivery ports in the U.S. The temporary waiver is intended to create flexibility in delivery of gasoline to Texas and Florida post Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Temporary relief at the pump should also come from extension of the multi-state waiver issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, which will allow states to sell reformulated gasoline without additives that reduce pollution during the summer.