Gas prices across the country have been holding steady this week but the threat of Hurricane Florence is likely to cause a spike in East Coast pump prices, including here in Connecticut, if the storm follows its projected path.
"Typically, we see gas prices falling after Labor Day when demand drops off, but Florence could cause a sharp increase instead", says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. "The good news is that any increase caused by the storm should be short lived".
The drop off in demand after the summer driving season and the switchover to the less expensive 'winter blend' of gasoline (beginning Sept 15) may help to temper the increase.
Motorists can find the latest gas prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.
Today's national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.85, up a penny from a week ago and still about 20 cents higher than last year on this same date.
Here in Connecticut, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.04, about the same as a week ago but still 17 cents higher than last year.
As usual, gas prices vary by region:
Norwich/New London $3.07
Meriden/New Haven $3.01
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. According to EIA’s report, total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.8 million bbl last week and are about 7 percent above the five-year average for this time of year. At the same time crude oil stocks dropped 4.3 million barrels from the previous week as refinery utilization rates reached 96.6 percent. 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.
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