AAA: Double digit gas price increases in West Virginia; May climb higher with major pipeline shutdown

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT
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NORTH CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA, W.Va (WDTV) - The average price of gasoline across Northern West Virginia jumped 13 cents this week to $2.890 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

This week’s average prices: Northern WV Average                          $2.890

Average price during the week of May 3, 2021                                $2.760

Average price during the week of May 11, 2020                              $1.794

The following is a list of the average prices in several West Virginia locations:

WV CitiesAverage Price of Gas

AAA’s Trend Analysis: On the week, the national gas price average jumped six cents to $2.96. If the trend continues, an increase of three more cents would make the national average the most expensive since November 2014 –the last time we saw average prices at $2.99 and higher.

AAA forecasts gas prices to climb this week in reaction to the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which delivers approximately 45% of all fuel to the East Coast. Over the weekend, the Colonial Pipeline announced they were the victim of a cybersecurity attack and, as a precaution, shut down the pipeline, which runs from Texas to New York Harbor. At this time, some lateral lines have reopened, but there is no word of when the mainline, including the gasoline line, will be operational.

This shutdown will have implications on both gasoline supply and prices, but the impact will vary regionally. Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the east coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and price increases, as early as this week. These states may see prices increase three to seven cents this week.

The longer the pipeline is offline, the larger the impact on the east coast. However, foreign gasoline imports and other pipelines can supplement Northeastern supply. Other areas of the country will see little impact.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by 19 cents to settle at $64.90. Market optimism that crude demand will recover, despite an uptick in coronavirus infection rates, helped to lift prices last week. Prices could continue to climb this week if the market remains optimistic as vaccines continue to rollout. Additionally, prices increased after the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest weekly report revealed that total domestic crude oil inventory dropped by 8 million barrels to 485.1 million barrels. If EIA’s next report shows another decrease in total domestic crude supply, crude prices could climb further this week.

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