Gas pump prices fall in wake of Sandy

AP News
Posted: Oct 30, 2012 4:43 PM
Gas pump prices fall in wake of Sandy

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of gasoline fell Tuesday after Hurricane Sandy left a wide swath of flooding, power outages and disrupted transportation in the eastern U.S.

The national average for a gallon of regular fell by about a penny, to $3.53. That's more than 11 cents lower than a week ago. Gasoline futures fell 3 cents to end at $2.73 a gallon.

With many roads impassable, drivers won't be driving as much, reducing demand for gasoline.

"It will take some time before we can get demand anywhere close to normal," independent energy analyst Phil Flynn wrote in his daily energy report. "Many people are staying home if possible."

Gasoline prices have been dropping since early October. That should continue into November due to the storm, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Services. Less driving in the coming days coupled with November's traditionally lower demand should bring prices down later in the month.

Only two of the Northeast's nine refineries were knocked out of commission by Sandy, and they apparently are down because of power outages. But Kloza said it could take a while for supply to reach consumers in the region because of transportation problems.

"In the Northeast, I expect lots of 'no gas' signs and little price movement until logistics can catch up with downstream markets," he said.

Crude imports likely will be reduced until East Coast ports recover. Many ports that shut down ahead of the hurricane have yet to reopen.

Concerns about oil supplies helped push the price of benchmark crude up 14 cents to finish at $85.68 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price many international varieties of crude, fell 36 cents to $109.08 per barrel.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Natural gas lost 11 cents to finish at $3.69 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil was down 3 cents to end at $3.09 per gallon.

The Nymex was closed Tuesday because of the storm, but electronic trading continued. Normal trading is expected to resume Wednesday.