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Christine Delise
Sr. Public Relations Specialist, MD
O: (410) 616-1900 (ext. 4361153)
C: (443) 244-7253

As Hurricane Florence batters the Carolinas, drivers in the Mid-Atlantic region are watching to see if and how the storm’s impact might affect local gas prices.  Several factors could contribute to a temporary spike in gas prices.  Disruption to energy transportation and distribution infrastructure could be significant due to flooding and power outages.  In addition, a shutdown of the Colonial or Plantation Pipeline, which supply the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast with fuel, would also result in an uptick in gas prices.


Today’s national gas price average is $2.85 per gallon, which is unchanged in the last week, down a penny in the last month, and 20 cents higher than this time last year.


Maryland’s gas average is a penny lower than the national average at $2.84 per gallon, which is once cent higher than last week and last month, and 15 cents more than last year on this date.


At the close of NYMEX trading Thursday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $68.59 per barrel, up 82 cents from a week ago.


Oil prices rose to close at $70.37 per barrel on Wednesday, a high not seen since mid-July, due to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showing falling U.S. crude inventories and production levels.


However, oil prices fell sharply on Thursday, as an International Energy Agency (IEA) report showed global supplies hit a record of 100 million barrels a day, making up for the expected decline in Iranian supply due to U.S. economic sanctions. The report warned that oil prices could rise as U.S. sanctions cut into Iranian oil exports and problems in Venezuela limit production in that country.


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The Weekend

“As Hurricane Florence impacts the Carolinas, gas prices along the East Coast may be affected by the storm’s impact,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Extensive flooding and widespread power outages will prevent gasoline deliveries in and around the Carolinas, and likely up and down the East Coast.  In addition, major gasoline pipelines – the Colonial and Plantation Pipelines – could be partially or completely shut down.  These factors could contribute to what could be a spike, albeit temporary, in prices at the pump.”


The Week Ahead

The severity of Hurricane Florence will determine access to fuel supply and impact on gas prices in the hurricane-impacted areas.  There is likely to be limited supply in and disrupted fuel deliveries to hurricane-impacted areas after Hurricane Florence hits. 


It is important to note that there will not be a gasoline shortage across the country, but instead temporary outages in certain areas affected by the storm.  There are no refineries in Florence’s path; therefore, U.S. crude processing will not be impacted.  As in any national or local state of emergency, AAA expects gas prices to be held in check along the gasoline supply chain, including prices set by refiners, distributors and dealers.


AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:


  • AAA's Member Rewards Visa® Credit Card ( accumulates double points on fuel purchases.


    Next Weekend Gas Watch: Friday, September 21, 2018

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Like us on Facebook: AAA Mid-Atlantic News

Mailing Address:
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Towson, MD 21286

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than 975,000 members in Maryland.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit

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