The August 14 blackout that hit most of the Northeast and Midwest states caused temporary shutdowns at gasoline refineries, and the result is an average spike of 17.6 cents a gallon at U.S. gas pumps.
Though the Dept. of Energy (DOE) yesterday reported that the average price at the pump for a gallon of diesel broke $1.50 a gallon for the first time since April 28, diesel prices did not experience the same price spike as gasoline prices did.
According to DOE's Energy Information Administration, the average price at the pump for gasoline rose from $1.611 on August 11 to $1.668 August 18. It then jumped 11.9 cents to $1.787 between then and yesterday.
The national average diesel price jumped 3.9 cents between August 4 and August 11, but has climbed just 1.1 cents to $1.503 since. However, the average price in California has jumped 4.5 cents to $1.75 over the past two weeks, and 5.9 cents on the West Coast over the same period.
Analyst Trilby Lundberg of The Lundberg Survey said that a July 30 pipeline rupture in Arizona caused a disruption in supply there, which also helped prices at the pump rise in August.
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners restarted the pipeline that runs from Tucson to Phoenix on Sunday, which means it was able to resume the transport of about 183,000 barrels per day of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel to the Phoenix market.
Lundberg said that the reopening of the pipeline and the end of the blackout should help stabilize prices.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet September 24 to review output quotas. However, OPEC is expected to keep outputs as is because prices are near the top of its desired price range.
OPEC has kept oil production in check while it waits for crude to flow again from Iraq.