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Fuel prices keep falling despite “Frankenstorm” disruptions

Nov. 6, 2012

The U.S. average price for both diesel and gasoline continued falling this week despite fuel supply disruptions and shortages in the Northeast due to the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, also known as the “Frankenstorm.”

The national average price for diesel dropped two cents this week to $4.01 per gallon and is down 10.6 cents per gallon compared to two weeks ago, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The agency added that diesel fuel is also 12.3 cents per gallon less expensive compared to the same week in 2011.

Diesel prices declines in every region of the country this week except for New England the Central Atlantic areas, which were both affected by Hurricane Sandy. However, EIA reported that diesel only increased 6/10ths of a penny in both of those regions despite the damage caused by the massive “super storm.”

The falloff in gasoline is even steeper, according to EIA’s data, with the national average price now at $3.492 per gallon – 7.6 cents per gallon cheaper than last week and 19.5 cents cheaper than two weeks ago. The agency noted that gasoline is also now 6.8 cents per gallon less expensive compared to the same week last year.

Gasoline prices declined in every region of the U.S. week-over-week as well – even in areas hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, according to EIA’s data. For example, the agency noted that average pump prices for gasoline dropped 2.6 cents and 1.5 cents per gallon in the New England and Central Atlantic regions, respectively.

That being said, though, major metropolitan areas hit by the “super storm” continue to deal with fuel shortages. For instance, as of yesterday, EIA estimates that 24% of gas stations in the New York metropolitan area do not have gasoline available for sale – a decrease from 27% over the weekend.

The agency added that of the stations it contacted 76% had gasoline available for sale and none reported they weren’t selling gasoline because they had no power.

Yet the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the U.S. fuel supply chain is expected to felt for some time, with gasoline supplies in particular declining due to refinery shut downs on the East Coast caused by the storm.

“The devastation and fuel shortages brought on by Hurricane Sandy are still being felt across the product complex in the U.S.,” Andrey Kryuchenkov, a London-based analyst at VTB Capital, told Bloomberg. 

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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