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Seasonal Demand Drop Not Having Usual Effect on Gas Prices

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite a seasonal drop in demand, gas prices across the United States are largely on the rise.

As of Oct. 10, the national average price for regular gasoline had increased for 12 of the past 14 days, reaching $2.26 per gallon. This is three cents more than one week ago, eight cents more than one month ago, and six cents more than one year ago, according to a report by AAA.

The states with the largest price increases in the last week were: Indiana (up 11 cents), Michigan (10 cents), Missouri (8 cents), West Virginia (8 cents), Ohio (8 cents), Illinois (6 cents) and Florida (6 cents).

Florida and North Carolina (with its average price up 4 cents) both felt the impact of Hurricane Matthew, which prompted gas prices to rise and placed them on the list of the top 15 week-over-week increases. Evacuation notices resulted in closed ports and terminals, and gas stations faced high demand from drivers preparing for the hurricane. Despite this, gas supplies in the Southeast remain plentiful. No refineries were threatened by the eventual path of the storm, AAA noted. 

The West Coast remains the most expensive gasoline market. It has the only six states where drivers are paying $2.50 per gallon or more, on average: Hawaii ($2.84), California ($2.79) Washington ($2.72), Alaska ($2.64), Oregon ($2.52), and Nevada ($2.50). The West Coast's transition to winter-blend gasoline is scheduled to take place in approximately two weeks, with some supply already being impacted as refineries begin maintenance in preparation for the changeover.

While the West Coast consistently has the highest gas prices in the United States, drivers in this region are some of the few to see steady prices in the last week, though. Prices in the Rocky Mountain region also remain relatively stable compared to other markets, AAA noted. 

Other regional highlights include: 

  • Gas prices in the Great Lakes region saw significant increases recently, primarily due to seasonal refinery work at key plants and the replenishment of inventory that was lost in September, after product was moved from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois to assist states in the Southeast that were impacted by problems on the Colonial Pipeline. Five states in this region made the list of top week-over-week increases: Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Illinois. 
  • The Central U.S. has some of the cheapest prices in the nation, although the area has still followed the national average higher in the last week. Four state averages in this region are among the 15 lowest: Arkansas ($2.05), Missouri ($2.07), Oklahoma ($2.07) and Tennessee ($2.14)
  • Prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast are still largely cheaper than one month ago, but have moved higher over the past week, likely due to Hurricane Matthew's impact on the Southeast. Among the list of the top 15 largest weekly increases were New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
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