Gas prices hit three-year high, but have begun to fall

Average gasoline prices in the Pittsburgh region dipped 2 cents over the last week and sit at $2.87 a gallon, according to price-tracking website GasBuddy. Natural gas fell 5 cents to $3.02 per 1,000 cubic feet. Metro Detroit's current average is about $2.53 per gallon, about 12 cents less than last week's average and about 26 cents more than this same time past year.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a total of six Gulf Coast refineries are operating at reduced rates.

With refineries ramping up production in Harvey's wake, wholesale gasoline prices have eased as supply comes back online, allowing gas stations to begin passing along the lower prices.

After rampant speculation; a series of devastating hurricane and media hype, average gas prices in CT and on the national level are on the downswing, according to AAA Northeast. The price of a gallon of regular is now down a penny nationwide, according to a AAA report last week.

"Harvey may be long gone, but his wrath continued to drive gasoline prices up in much of the country in the last week", said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.

As gas prices drop for the majority of the country, so does the nation's gasoline inventory.

Looking down the road, the group said regular unleaded could drop below $2 a gallon by Christmas. California and Hawaii at $3.15 and $3.12, respectively, are the states with the highest average at $3.12. "It still will take time to completely heal from the issues Harvey and Irma left, particularly due to the large-scale disruptions of fuel logistics and production, but improvement will continue both with lower retail prices and high refinery output", DeHaan said.

"Hurricanes Harvey and Irma delivered a 1-2 punch on gas prices in the southeastern USA", said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. Alaska, California, Hawaii, Montana and Utah saw average prices rise slightly, but should see relief in the weeks ahead.

Local motorists should get some relief from hurricane-driven higher gas prices by the end of the month, AAA Carolinas projected Monday.

  • Rogelio Becker