Motorists Can Expect East Coast Gas Prices to Spike this Week as Hurricane Florence Approaches
September 10, 2018 - On the week, the national gas price average jumped a penny to land at $2.85. Prices remain relatively stable across the country as gasoline demand dipped slightly and gasoline inventories incrementally built according to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports.
With the switchover to winter-blend gasoline fast approaching (September 15), gas prices are expected to decline this month. The threat of Hurricane Florence — which is now a Category 2 storm and projected to hit between South Carolina and Virginia by end of this week —will likely have an impact on East Coast gas prices this week should the storm follow its projected path.
“A storm like this typically causes an increase in fuel purchases in the market and a slowdown in retail demand. Motorists can expect spikes in pump prices to be brief, but possibly dramatic,” said Marilyn Buskohl, AAA spokesperson. “AAA will continue to monitor the storm and will provide updates. Motorists can find the latest gas prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.”
Great Lakes and Central
Motorists in the Great Lakes and Central states are seeing pump prices mostly remaining steady on the week. Only three states saw any ‘significant’ spikes in gas prices: Michigan (+6 cents), Indiana (+4 cents) and Kentucky (+4 cents). South Dakota and Missouri both have the largest pump price drop – three cents – of all states in the region.
Compared to one month ago, motorists in every state in the region – except Ohio (+1 cent) – are paying less to fill up. Five Great Lakes and Central states land on the top 10 largest monthly changes list: Michigan (-12 cents), South Dakota (-10 cents), Illinois (-10 cents), North Dakota (-7 cents) and Nebraska (-6 cents).
Gasoline inventories built slightly on the week to register at 53.1 million bbl, which is the largest inventory level recorded for this time of year since 2008. With demand expected to continue declining, and taking into account high inventory levels, motorists in the region can expect prices to steadily decline this fall.
Oil market dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped two cents to settle at $67.75. The drop in the price of crude oil can be attributed to several factors including increasing U.S. gasoline inventories, wariness regarding U.S. sanctions against Iran, and instability in production in Libya and Venezuela. These market dynamics are mostly keeping gas prices flat, but a factor that may negatively impact prices is the threat of Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic. While it is still too early to pinpoint exactly where it will make landfall, the National Hurricane Center reports landfall could occur somewhere between South Carolina and Virginia late this week.
Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
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