Early Effects of Harvey are Minimal on Virginia Gas

hand at gas pump

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (August 28, 2017) - As Hurricane Harvey blasted Texas, gas prices shot up across the country. However, the early effects of the storm are minimal on gas prices in Virginia so far. The Commonwealth is ranked 7th least expensive gas prices in the nation, marking the current price at $2.15. The gas price in Virginia is a one cent difference from last week, and a seven cent increase from last month. Whereas, national’s price for gas is $2.37, which is four cents more expensive on the week and one of the largest one-week national gas prices surge seen this summer.

On Sunday, Magellan Midstream Partners suspended all inbound and outbound refined products and crude oil transportation services on its pipeline systems in the Houston area. Conversely, the Colonial Pipeline said its Gulf Coast pipeline and terminals are continuing to operate normally. The Colonial Pipeline delivers gasoline from Houston to the Mid-Atlantic.

Harvey is expected to continue to impact the region through the middle of the week with an additional 15 – 25 inches of rain expected over the middle and upper Texas coast through Friday.

To help alleviate the tight and potential shortage of supply, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced over the weekend that it will waive environmental standards on gasoline for select counties in Texas.

“As in any national or local state of emergency, AAA expects gas prices to be held in check up and down the gasoline supply chain, including prices set by refiners, distributors and dealers unless there is a clearly justifiable reason for an increase,” Said Georjeane Blumling, spokesperson for AAA Tidewater Virginia.

At the end of last week, the price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate remained below $50 – settling at $47.87. On Monday morning, prices began to fall as news of refinery closings due to Tropical Storm Harvey began to influence the market. Refinery closings signal that less oil will likely be consumed as catastrophic flooding persists in the region, and assessments of damage to energy infrastructure assets are stalled until conditions improve. All of this uncertainty has made the market jittery.

It is still too soon for the market to know how badly damaged energy infrastructure is from the storm, but the coming days will offer more insight into how long recovery and restoration may take. Demand shifts based on the storm and countermeasures the market will take to meet a new supply and demand landscape will also be evaluated. 

As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 330,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.  For more information, visit AAA.com and follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/AAATidewaterVA or on Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia