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U.S. gas prices anything but normal

Staff Writer |
October usually brings lower retail gasoline prices in the United States, but recent hurricanes delayed seasonal norms, motor club gas prices reported.

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"When fall arrives, motorists expect gas prices to be cheaper than they were in the summer," gas prices spokesperson Jeanette Casselano said in a statement.

"That's just not the case this year."

gas prices reports a national average retail price for regular unleaded gasoline of $2.54 per gallon, down a couple cents from last week, but 14 percent, or around 32 cents higher, than this date last year.

After the Labor Day holiday in early September, gas prices usually go down because demand pressures wane.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, however, upended seasonal norms because of their impact on refineries in the southern United States.

"Back-to-back hurricanes packed a punch to Gulf Coast refineries' gasoline production and inventory levels," Casselano said. "As they play catch-up, gas prices are going to be higher than we'd like to see."

The last few refineries knocked out by Harvey came back online in late September and that led to relief at the pump for some Gulf Coast states.

Florida, which saw big spikes after Irma because it doesn't have any refineries of its own, saw gas prices drop 6 cents per gallon, though the state average is still above the national par.

Because of the concentration of refineries, the Great Lakes market is usually the most volatile.

Supplies in the region had to adjust to demand strains elsewhere and gas prices noted federal estimates show gasoline inventories there at the lowest in nearly two years.

Indiana, Michigan and Ohio two weeks ago reported big drops in gas prices, but erased the declines for last week.

By gas prices's metric, those were the only three states in the region to post price increases.

For the West Coast, the most expensive market in the country, gas prices said gasoline inventories were on the slow road to recovery and the price at the pump was more or less stable.

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