Local gas prices drop as Texas refineries recover from hurriance

tjefferson@vagazette.com

Multiple hurricanes in September caused gas prices to go up at the pump, but now those prices are finally coming down.

“When all these hurricanes started it caused problems with supply. Virginia drivers were paying almost 14 cents a gallon more than what they’re paying now,” said Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst at Gasbuddy.com, a crowdsourcing site for gas prices.

The average price of unleaded gasoline in Virginia is $2.44, which is a 5-cent decline from last week, but a 34-cent increase from this time last year, according to AAA.

In Williamsburg, prices range from $2.23 to $2.27 according to GasBuddy.com.

Unleaded gasoline is $2.45 at the Sunoco at 7107 Merrimac Trail, which is higher than surrounding stations, but the store manager said prices are in the process of falling.

“With this new shipment I got today, my prices will go down anywhere between 15 to 18 cents,” said Johnny Rash, Sunoco manager.

Rash said this will be the lowest his gas has been in weeks, but it’s still higher than normal for this time of the year.

The Gulf Coast provides oil to states close to the Atlantic seaboard, including Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia, which is why those states saw the largest increases in gas prices during the hurricane season, according to AAA.

“I think prices are calming down after the hurricanes,” Rash said.

McTeague said prices will continue to drop, but won’t reach the low averages from last year.

“There’s still room for prices to drop,” McTeague said. “We still could potentially have a drop of about 10 to 15 cents a gallon over the next few weeks in a perfect world. However, I doubt we will see the prices where we were this time last year when we were at $2.08 across the state. That’s because oil is more expensive.”

Compared to national averages, Virginia is still well below the average price for regular unleaded gasoline, which is $2.53. The national average is at its most expensive for this time of year since 2015.

The outlook for the region is bright, according to AAA.

“Gas prices are slowly dropping as the situation with refineries, pipelines and gasoline deliveries is positively progressing,” said Georjeane Blumling, AAA Tidewater spokeswoman, in a news release. “Looks like good news for Virginia into the coming weeks as the regions affected by Irma and Harvey resume normal operations.”

Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.

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