AAA: Gas Prices Drop Despite Tropical Storm

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Daytona Beach, FL - It looks like gas prices in the Sunshine State dropped through the weekend despite a tropical storm moving over oil refineries and platforms on the Gulf Coast.

Last week, Tropical Storm Barry, which was briefly a Category 1 hurricane, formed over the Gulf of Mexico and jogged north towards the coast with Louisiana in its sights.

And normally during tropical storms, refineries usually worry about any damage that can be caused to facilities during the weather.

But, according to the latest report from the Oil Price Information Service, operations in Louisiana were mostly unaffected, even though 73% of offshore production ceased throughout the storm.

One refinery was shut down as a precaution, but others continued the run as they seem to have weathered the storm without any operation incident. That one refinery will take some time to restart, as the process takes one week, if there is no damage done to the facility.

Yesterday morning (July 15th), the Port of New Orleans also began allowing vessels in and out of the Mississippi River and the port with some restrictions.

"Crude oil and gasoline prices increased on the stock market last week, due to concerns that Tropical Storm Barry would cause temporary interruptions in fuel supply," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. "Futures prices rose at a pace that would normally translate to a 5-10 cent increase at the gas pump. Wholesale gas prices also suggest a state average of about $2.70 per gallon. Pump prices could go in either direction this week."

But, Jenkins said that if it's determined that Barry did not cause extensive damage to the fuel infrastructure along the gulf coast, operations could quickly return to normal and pump prices could remain unaffected.

Currently, the state's average price decline to $2.63 according to AAA's latest gas report.

For the past 10 days, the state's price has declined for a total discount of 10 cents during that time, one cent per day. Drivers statewide are now paying four cents less than a week ago and nearly 20 cents less than this time last year.

Drivers around Volusia County are seeing averages hovering around $2.63 per gallon (regular unleaded), which is a five cent drop compared to last week's numbers.

Flagler drivers saw a four cent drop compared to last week's averages, with the current average sitting at $2.65 per gallon.

Gainesville actually had the highest gas prices seen in the state with averages around $2.69 per gallon.

The lowest prices were found in Punta Gorda, with averages sitting near $2.57 per gallon.

The national average is sitting around $2.79 per gallon, a four cent jump compared to last week's numbers.

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