Gasoline prices are not fluctuating in Iowa in the wake of the so-called superstorm. Six oil refineries on the East Coast cut production or closed prior to Hurricane Sandy’s arrival on Monday night. That’s usually cause for gas prices going up, but it hasn’t happened.
Rose White, at Triple-A-Iowa, says production is halted at those refineries, but demand is also down significantly since so many roadways and airports shut down temporarily. “Gasoline demand at this time of year is usually near 8.5-million barrels per day but it’s likely to be at least one-million barrels per day lower for the next several days because of the shutdown in operations,” White says.
“This drop in demand has the potential to pressure pump prices lower, especially in regions like the Gulf Coast, which normally supplies products to the East Coast but will not feel the direct effects of the storm.”
White says gas prices in Iowa will likely remain stable or fall slightly through Election Day but that could change, depending on the amount of damage, which is being estimated in the tens of billions. So far though, pump prices aren’t budging.
“A big part of that is because of the downturn in the demand we’re expecting to see as a result of this storm,” White says. “Remember, this is a very densely populated area and with the shutdown of the airline operations as well as people staying home, that’s certainly going to create a big lowering of demand for fuel products in that region of the country.”
The average price for a gallon of gas in Iowa is $3.38. That’s down from $3.49 a week ago and $3.81 a month ago. Iowa’s current average gas price is 14-cents below the national average.