VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (September 17, 2018) – Virginia fared well this weekend while Hurricane Florence battered the Carolinas over the weekend with life-threating storm-surge, rain and flooding. The hurricane had little to no impact on gas prices as Virginia’s gas prices continue to remain consistent at $2.62 which is only a penny more than last month. In Hampton Roads, gas prices remain flat at $2.61 with a penny difference from last month. The Commonwealth continues to rank 9th in least expensive gas prices.
Prior to Florence’s arrival, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported the Lower Atlantic Region’s total gasoline stocks -- which includes West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida -- measured at 27.9 million bbl. That is 10 percent higher than the 5-year average for this time of year.
“Gasoline stocks in the hurricane-impacted area are healthy, but delivery of gasoline will be an impediment to meeting demand in coastal areas this week,” said Georjeane Blumling, AAA spokesperson. “As power is restored, water recedes and roads open-up, we will have a better idea of how quickly fuel deliveries can be made to gas stations in the area. And while fuel availability at stations is a concern, AAA expects station outages to be short-lived.”
Hurricane Florence drove up gas prices in North Carolina (+3 cents) and Virginia (+1 cents) this past week. All other states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region saw prices decrease by a few cents or remained stable.
For motorists in coastal parts of North Carolina and Virginia, fuel availability post Hurricane Florence is a concern. As residents evacuated, panic-buying and tank-topping set-in, leaving some gas stations with low to no fuel at their pumps. The positive news is that Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regional gasoline inventories sit at a healthy 66.7 million bbl, which is not only the second highest inventory level recorded for the region this year, but a level not seen in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region since March 2016. This means that the region has adequate supply on-hand, and, weather-dependent, could be a resource to assist with resupply in the hurricane-impacted area, once water levels subside, roads are passable and power is restored.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 40 cents to settle at $68.99. Oil prices have edged higher last week following the release of the EIA’s weekly petroleum report that showed crude stocks fell by 5.3 million bbl last week. If supplies fall again in this week’s report, crude prices could climb further. Dwindling supplies have put a spotlight on shrinking global crude inventories, which could cause oil prices to push to $70-$80/bbl this fall. Continued decline in crude production from Venezuela and anticipated reduced crude exports from Iran due to U.S.-imposed sanctions that go into effect in November could place greater pressure on the market. In the near term, U.S. crude production has not been impacted by Hurricane Florence, as there were no refineries in Florence’s path.
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 Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia.