Northern WV Gas Price Drop, Harvey Drives Up Prices Nationwide

West Virginia, Gas Prices
Gas pumps by Natalie Maynor
Photo by Natalie Maynor https://www.flickr.com/photos/nataliemaynor/ creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/  

Gas prices in the northern counties of West Virginia dropped this week by about a penny to an average of $2.316 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report. 

Prices are relatively stable throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region.  The bulk of the region’s flat prices derives from the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showing that gasoline inventories declined by 1.8 million barrels for the week ending August 18.  Total stocks on hand now sit at more than 6 million barrels lower than year-ago levels, while still sitting 3.7 million barrels higher than the five-year average for this week.

With stocks below year-ago levels, prices indicate that demand has not increased dramatically during the last weeks of summer and supply is meeting current need.  However, stocks could drop and prices may increase in the week ahead depending on Tropical Storm Harvey’s impact on the ability of several Gulf Coast refineries’ to return to operational status.

This week’s average prices: Northern WV Average: $2.316
Average price during the week of August 21, 2017: $2.329
Average price during the week of August 29, 2016: $2.171

The following is a list of the average prices in several West Virginia locations:

$2.277      Bridgeport
$2.287      Clarksburg
$2.273      Huntington
$2.448      Martinsburg
$2.326      Morgantown
$2.268      Parkersburg
$2.312      Weirton
$2.337      Wheeling

On the National Front
As Harvey blasted Texas, gas prices shot up across the country.  At $2.37, today’s national gas price average is four cents more expensive on the week and one of the largest one-week national gas prices surge seen this summer.

About one quarter of oil refining capacity in the Gulf Coast had been taken offline, according to forecasts by Oil Price Information Service (OPIS).  That equates to about 2.5 million barrels per day.  Harvey has also caused eight refineries in Texas to shut down, while several others are operating at reduced rates. 

In Corpus Christi, Flint Hills, Valero, CITGO and Valero Three Rivers remain offline since initial shutdowns began in advance of Harvey late last week.  Over the weekend, Valero reported its refineries in Corpus Christi and Three Rivers sustained "substantial refinery impacts" and the company is evaluating infrastructure needs to determine when the refineries can resume operations.   Corpus Christi is connected via pipeline to refineries in San Antonio and Nixon, TX, which can supply Corpus Christi if local refiners are offline for an extended period.

On Sunday, Magellan Midstream Partners suspended all inbound and outbound refined products and crude oil transportation services on its pipeline systems in the Houston area.  Conversely, the Colonial Pipeline said its Gulf Coast pipeline and terminals are continuing to operate normally, delivering gasoline from Houston to the Mid-Atlantic.

It is still too soon for the market to know how badly damaged energy infrastructure is from the storm, but the coming days will offer more insight into how long recovery and restoration may take.  Demand shifts based on the storm and countermeasures the market will take to meet a new supply and demand landscape will also be evaluated.

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.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 81 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.  Past news releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

For More Information, Contact:
Jim Garrity, Public & Community Relations Manager
Desk: 412-365-7274 / Cell: 412-905-9021 / Email: Garrity.James@aaaec.com

-AAA-