Sept. 10–ATLANTA — With Hurricane Florence churning in the Atlantic’s waters, Georgians can already feel the impact at the gas pump.
Gas prices eased up over the last seven days as the nation — in particular those along the East Coast — kept a watchful eye on the first named Atlantic hurricane of the season. Gas prices usually start a post-Labor Day decline in the days after the holiday, but the pending threat of Florence gave retailers an opportunity to actually increase costs, according to surveyors AAA-The Auto Club Group and GasBuddy.com.
The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the state increased by 3 cents a gallon over the last week, but metro Albany drivers saw something of a correction during that period. Gas in the southwest Georgia region dropped a little less than a cent a gallon, from $2.630 a week ago to $2.623 on Monday.
“When a major storm approaches the U.S., gasoline markets can be just as unpredictable as the storm itself,” Mark Jenkins, a AAA spokesman, said. “It’s unclear what, if any, impact Hurricane Florence will have on prices at the pump outside the impacted area. Although there are no crude/gasoline refineries in the ‘cone of uncertainty,’ a major storm like this can threaten the regional supply chain, which can lead to rising prices.”
The least expensive gas price averages in Georgia Monday were in Catoosa-Dade-Walker ($2.58), Warner Robins ($2.60) and Columbus ($2.61), while the most expensive averages were in Atlanta ($2.79), Gainesville ($2.77) and Savannah ($2.71).
“Last week saw a brief and fairly tame rise in the national average, brought on mainly by a select few states where gas prices tend to be volatile,” Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said. “Overall, it was a mostly stable week with some up and down movement state-by-state. But now we await the changeover to winter gasoline that happens this Saturday for some relief at the pump.
“While Hurricane Florence may pose fuel-related challenges for areas of the East Coast, there is little to no threat to refineries at this time, and it is thus unlikely to bring measurable impact to the national average price of gasoline, but could bring supply challenges to several states, depending on levels of evacuations and timing of them. Hurricane season aside, gasoline demand will likely drift lower nearly countrywide, putting some additional downward impact on prices in most communities over the next few weeks.”
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