Gas prices fall­ing as hur­ri­cane punch fades

Orlando Sentinel - - BUSINESS - By Kyle Arnold

Cen­tral Flor­ida gas prices are fall­ing, a sea­sonal trend de­layed by Hur­ri­canes Har­vey and Irma.

Gas prices have dropped 10 cents in Metro Or­lando dur­ing the last week, av­er­ag­ing $2.41 a gal­lon for reg­u­lar un­leaded Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge re­port Wed­nes­day.

But it could be headed lower as sev­eral sta­tions in the area have dropped the price for a gal­lon of fuel to $2.31 a gal­lon.

Gas prices of­ten swing down­ward in Oc­to­ber as re­finer­ies move off of en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly sum­mer fuel blends. De­mand also drops af­ter the sum­mer driv­ing sea­son.

But Hur­ri­cane Har­vey tem­po­rar­ily shut down some Gulf Coast re­finer­ies in late Au­gust and Hur­ri­cane Irma caused gas sta­tion sup­ply is­sues in mid-Septem­ber.

Prices at Metro Or­lando pumps reached a high of $2.71 from Sept. 7-16. Prices hadn’t been that high here since De­cem­ber 2014; that year, the peak was $3.71 in April.

With oil trad­ing for about $50 a bar­rel early this week on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change, prices should be lower.

Some an­a­lysts saw price drops com­ing af­ter Mon­day’s price was $2.46: "Gas prices re­main in­flated by about 20 to 30 cents and should de­cline an­other 5-10 cents this week,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenk­ins said Mon­day. "... Re­tail prices con­tinue to re­cover from the ef­fects of Hur­ri­canes Irma and Har­vey."

Or­lando’s fuel prices are 9 cents a gal­lon be­low the Flor­ida av­er­age of $2.50. The na­tional av­er­age is $2.48 a gal­lon, ac­cord­ing to AAA.

Even with gas prices fall­ing, it’s still much higher than a year ago. Gas was sell­ing for $2.13 a gal­lon in Cen­tral Flor­ida a year ago.

It could take more time for the im­pacts of Har­vey and Irma to fully dis­si­pate, said Gas­buddy se­nior an­a­lyst Greg DeHaan in a state­ment.

“Na­tion­ally, prices still stand about 15 cents per gal­lon higher than their pre-Har­vey level, but the gap will con­tinue to slow as prices slowly trickle down," he said.

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