Retail gas prices are fairly flat as demand for gasoline dipped slightly and gas inventories showed small gains. For the week, the national average for regular adds a penny to $2.84 while Oregon’s average remains at $3.26.
In Hermiston, the average price for a gallon of gas is between $3.07-$3.09.
Hurricane Florence could cause pump prices to spike on the East Coast this week, especially in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. The storm is a Category 4 and could strengthen to become a Category 5 hurricane before making landfall as projected late Thursday or early Friday. There are no refineries in Florence’s path so U.S. crude processing will not be impacted. Fuel deliveries in the impacted areas are likely to be reduced, due to road closures and power outages, limiting fuel supply at terminals and at local stations.
“A storm like this typically causes an increase in fuel purchases in the impacted markets before the storm followed by a slowdown in retail demand,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “Any spikes in pump prices will be brief but dramatic. Since Sunday, the average price for unleaded gas along the path of the storm has remained relatively stable.”
AAA urges travelers to check with their travel agent and travel providers for cancelation policies and itinerary changes. Travelers should follow all official evacuation advisories and orders. Many airlines are waiving change fees and issuing changes to rebooking policies as a result of the storm. Check with your airline on their policy, check your flight status before leaving for the airport, and sign up for text or mobile alerts from your airline for the latest flight information.
If you have hotel reservations, check with your hotel for local updates on the storm’s impact. Several cruise lines have altered itineraries in advance of the storm so travelers should check with their cruise line or travel agent for updates.
In most parts of the country, AAA expects gas prices to decline this month due to the switchover to winter-blend gasoline which occurs September 15. This fuel is less expensive to produce than the more environmentally-friendly summer-blend fuel.
Oregon is one of 17 states where prices have decreased week-over-week. Florida has the largest decrease (-3.5 cents). Delaware has the largest weekly increase (+12 cents). This week 10 states have averages at or above $3 a gallon, same as a week ago.