Gas Watch: Pump prices continue downward trend

October 12, 2017 - 8:21 am

AUSTIN (KJCE) -- The rise in gas prices brought on by Hurricane Harvey in late August continues to subside, according to the latest numbers from AAA Texas.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the Austin area this week is $2.36, down 7 cents from last week. The average is some 35 cents higher than a year ago, when prices were just above the $2.00 mark.

Statewide, the average sits at $2.32, which is also 7 cents cheaper than last week. Nationally, drivers are paying an average of $2.48 a gallon. Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in Texas, drivers in El Paso are paying the most on average per gallon at $2.45, while drivers in Amarillo continue to pay the least - this week, at $2.21 per gallon.

The landfall of Hurricane Nate last weekend prompted some Gulf Coast oil platforms and rigs to be shut down and evacuated; in addition, two refineries, accounting for six percent of total Gulf Coast refining capacity, shut down. Early reports indicate that refineries did not sustain damage. Overall, motorists will see minimal to no impact to gas prices in the region hit by the storm. "Hurricane Nate has had little impact on Texas gas prices," said Daniel Armbruster with AAA Texas. "Analysts believe drivers will continue to enjoy lower gas prices as demand decreases through the fall season."

Gas prices have fallen steadily for the past four weeks and now motorists are seeing gasoline demand drop alongside prices. The latest demand figures show the lowest since the week Hurricane Harvey hit and can likely be the beginning of a downward demand trend indicating even cheaper gas prices to come this fall, according to market analysts.

When it comes to yearly average gas price changes, Texas is ranked 10th in the nation as prices are up 29 cents from this same time in 2016. New Jersey leads the nation for average gas price change over October of last year. Gas prices in New Jersey are up 49 cents, on average, from this same time last year.

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