AAA: Western PA Gas Prices Steady; Hurricane Ida Disrupts Gas Production

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Gas prices in Western Pennsylvania are stable this week at $3.323 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report. 

This week’s average prices: Western Pennsylvania Average                 $3.323
Average price during the week of August 23, 2021                                  $3.326
Average price during the week of August 31, 2020                                  $2.584

The average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:      

$3.293      Altoona
$3.353      Beaver
$3.359      Bradford
$3.346      Brookville
$3.328      Butler
$3.359      Clarion
$3.319      DuBois
$3.346      Erie
$3.305      Greensburg
$3.299      Indiana
$3.280      Jeannette
$3.303      Kittanning
$3.356      Latrobe
$3.345      Meadville
$3.369      Mercer
$3.281      New Castle
$3.279      New Kensington
$3.359      Oil City
$3.332      Pittsburgh

$3.299      Sharon
$3.287      Uniontown
$3.359      Warren
$3.278      Washington

Trend Analysis:

The national gas price average decreased by two cents as of Sunday, the cheapest price since early July, but was back up a penny to $3.15 Monday morning following Hurricane Ida. The storm has left more than one million people in Louisiana and Mississippi without power and taken about 13% of U.S. refining capacity offline. There were nine oil refineries in Ida’s path; at least four were believed to have shut down operations ahead of the storm.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate increased by $1.32 to settle at $68.74 as production ramped down ahead of Hurricane Ida. As the storm continues, over 95% of oil production in the Gulf Coast region remains shuttered. In addition, the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reports that 288 out of 560 manned offshore platforms have been evacuated; all 11 of the non-dynamically positioned rigs have been evacuated; and 10 of the 15 dynamically positioned rigs have moved out of the storm’s path as a precaution. For this week, crude prices will likely increase, at least temporarily, in response to reduced supply. However, as the storm clears and damage is assessed, production will gradually return to normal operations and help to stabilize prices as supply increases.

Until the power is restored, it’s too early to know the full impact of any damage Ida caused on the oil and gas industry, but motorists regionally can expect price fluctuations leading into Labor Day weekend. Typically, a category 4 storm could mean three plus weeks before refineries are back to normal operations, while offshore production is more likely to resume this week.

As a precautionary measure, Colonial Pipeline announced on Sunday that they shut down two main lines that run from Houston, TX, to Greensboro, NC. The company added that following an infrastructure inspection after the storm, the pipeline would be back to full service. Gas prices nationally, especially in the southeast and east coast, will see minimal impact at the pump if the pipeline is down for a matter of hours versus days. AAA will continue to monitor the latest oil and gas developments resulting from Ida and provide updates, especially on the re-opening of the Colonial Pipeline.

Motorists can find current gas prices nationwide, statewide, and countywide at GasPrices.AAA.com.