AAA: Ohio gas prices spike following Hurricane Laura’s arrival


Staff report



The average price of gasoline across South Central Ohio is 15 cents higher this week at $2.244 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

This week’s average prices: South Central Ohio Average: $2.244

Average price during the week of August 24, 2020 $2.092

Average price during the week of September 3, 2019 $2.549

The average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:

$2.261 Athens

$2.194 Chillicothe

$2.340 Columbiana

$2.368 East Liverpool

$2.309 Gallipolis

$2.221 Hillsboro

$2.040 Ironton

$2.265 Jackson

$2.224 Logan

$2.342 Marietta

$2.140 Portsmouth

$2.225 Steubenville

$2.279 Washington Court House

$2.207 Waverly

Trend Analysis:

The national gas price average increased by a nickel on the week to $2.23 after Hurricane Laura made landfall in the south. Today’s national average is a nickel more than last month, and 35 cents cheaper than a year ago. On the week, all but five states saw gas price averages increase. Of those that saw jumps, nearly 20 state averages are 5 to 15 cents more expensive.

While it’s typical to see increased demand and more expensive gas prices ahead of a major storm, prices could start to cool off in the weeks ahead. The latest industry reports indicate that gasoline facilities in Texas have already begun the restarting process, which means there is no major threat to inventory. However, operations in the Lake Charles, La., region are still down, and could be for a period of time. Also, in the Gulf of Mexico, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) reports that 70% of current oil production is still shuttered. AAA will continue to monitor developments and subsequent impacts on gas prices.

The second factor pushing prices more expensive this week is demand. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that demand increased from 8.63 million b/d to 9.16 million b/d. Even though this is one of the highest levels all year, it’s still about 739,000 b/d lower than the rate at this time last year.

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate decreased by seven cents to settle at $42.97 per barrel. This week, crude prices may rise again due to a weak U.S. dollar and if prolonged closure of rigs and production platforms tighten domestic crude. However, the EIA’s latest weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventories are 80 million barrels higher than where they were during this time in August 2019. The higher level could play a role in stabilizing crude prices.

Motorists can find current gas prices nationwide, statewide, and countywide at GasPrices.AAA.com.

Staff report