AAA: Gas prices increase in Ohio; Hurricane Ida disrupts gas production

Staff report

The average price of gasoline across South Central Ohio is two cents higher this week at $2.977 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

This week’s average prices: South Central Ohio Average: $2.977

Average price during the week of August 23, 2021 $2.950

Average price during the week of August 31, 2020 $2.244

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

$3.066 Athens

$2.936 Chillicothe

$2.776 Columbiana

$2.956 East Liverpool

$2.996 Gallipolis

$2.963 Hillsboro

$3.079 Ironton

$2.982 Jackson

$2.962 Logan

$2.994 Marietta

$2.936 Portsmouth

$2.977 Steubenville

$3.012 Washington Court House

$3.046 Waverly

The national gas price average decreased by two cents as of Sunday, the cheapest price since early July, but was back up a penny to $3.15 Monday morning following Hurricane Ida. The storm has left more than one million people in Louisiana and Mississippi without power and taken about 13% of U.S. refining capacity offline. There were nine oil refineries in Ida’s path; at least four were believed to have shut down operations ahead of the storm.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate increased by $1.32 to settle at $68.74 as production ramped down ahead of Hurricane Ida. As the storm continues, over 95% of oil production in the Gulf Coast region remains shuttered. In addition, the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reports that 288 out of 560 manned offshore platforms have been evacuated; all 11 of the non-dynamically positioned rigs have been evacuated; and 10 of the 15 dynamically positioned rigs have moved out of the storm’s path as a precaution. For this week, crude prices will likely increase, at least temporarily, in response to reduced supply. However, as the storm clears and damage is assessed, production will gradually return to normal operations and help to stabilize prices as supply increases.

Until the power is restored, it’s too early to know the full impact of any damage Ida caused on the oil and gas industry, but motorists regionally can expect price fluctuations leading into Labor Day weekend. Typically, a category 4 storm could mean three plus weeks before refineries are back to normal operations, while offshore production is more likely to resume this week.

As a precautionary measure, Colonial Pipeline announced on Sunday that they shut down two main lines that run from Houston, TX, to Greensboro, NC. The company added that following an infrastructure inspection after the storm, the pipeline would be back to full service. Gas prices nationally, especially in the southeast and east coast, will see minimal impact at the pump if the pipeline is down for a matter of hours versus days. AAA will continue to monitor the latest oil and gas developments resulting from Ida and provide updates, especially on the re-opening of the Colonial Pipeline.

Staff report