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Harvey boosts Valley gas prices


Published: Thu, September 14, 2017 @ 12:07 a.m.

Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

The Mahoning Valley avoided the recent hurricanes’ devastating winds and rain, but was hit by rising gas prices in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey last month.

Mahoning County’s average gas price was $2.55 as of Wednesday, and Ohio’s average was $2.44.

The average national gas price is $2.65, up 30 cents from last month.

In Ohio, gas prices peaked at $2.55 from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4.

Those prices, however, are continuing to drop, not just in Ohio, but across the nation, said Jim Garrity, public and community relations manager of American Automobile Association.

“Relief is in sight for consumers at the pump,” he said.

There is good news for people who buy gas in Ohio.

“The general supply of gasoline right now in the Great Lakes region and Ohio is very strong. As we get closer to the end of the month, prices will come down nationwide,” Garrity said.

Hurricane Harvey was the culprit of the rising prices because it wrecked not just homes and businesses, but also oil refineries. “Hurricane Irma had no impact on gas prices. It didn’t hit any key oil refineries or energy infrastructure,” according to Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com.

Paul Kadilak of Poland filled up his Chevrolet Impala on Wednesday at the Shell station on Main Street in Poland. He said “it’s great” gas prices will start to return to pre-Harvey prices in the coming days.

Twenty-eight percent of the nation’s refineries were offline from that storm, DeHaan said.

In the weeks since Harvey left its mark on Texas, some damaged refineries have been repaired and are back online, resulting in lower gas prices.

The refineries have even made up for their loss in production during the hurricane, DeHaan said.

The only effect Irma had at the pump was in the South as people rushed to the gas stations to fill up vehicles to evacuate.

In Texas and Florida, the states hardest hit by Harvey and Irma, gas prices rose before the storm.

“The impact was more localized in the South because people were lining up around the area to buy gasoline, so it was depleting in the area,” Garrity said.

As of Wednesday, the cheapest gas price in Mahoning County was $2.37. Best Oil on Mahoning Avenue at Bella Vista Avenue and Valley Service Center on Mahoning at Glacier Avenue, both on the West Side, and Sunoco on Fifth Avenue across from Youngstown State University’s Stambaugh Stadium on the North Side all had that price.

In Trumbull County, the cheapest gas price was $2.39 at the Speed Check on Parkman Road Northwest in Warren.


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