Gas Prices Remain Steady Despite Hurricane Florence And Trade War Threats

A row of Shell gas pumps with "Unleaded" displayed
Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

Between shortages and demands caused by Hurricane Florence and the threats of an imminent trade war, there is a lot going on in the petroleum world. Yet, UPI reported Tuesday that gas prices so far do not seem to be affected by current events. Apparently, the passing storm did not enter any major areas of petroleum refinement, avoiding any danger to domestic production. So far, AAA reports that gas prices have remained steady this past week, averaging at $2.85 per gallon, nationally. While there was a slight increase in price of three cents in North Carolina and one cent in Virginia, the overall market rate generally remained unaffected, says UPI.

In preparation for the storm, the Carolina areas also preloaded up with surplus gasoline. But that gasoline won’t last forever, and in the passing of the storm, AAA is beginning to look to possible future struggles in the market, says UPI. AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano apparently worries about the impending struggle of continuing to supply gasoline in areas where impact from the storm makes travel difficult.

“Gasoline stocks in the hurricane-impacted area are healthy, but delivery of gasoline will be an impediment to meeting demand in coastal areas this week. As power is restored, water recedes and roads open up, we will have a better idea of how quickly fuel deliveries can be made to gas stations in the area,” said Casselano.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, UPI reports that while trade war tensions were high, China allegedly threatened to make natural gas a part of tariffs. Gas companies and oil industry executives apparently want no part in the trade war, sources say. Because China makes up 15 percent of U.S.-produced natural gas consumption, tariffs would likely cause the market to react poorly, experts say. Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, CEO of the world’s largest petroleum supplier, Qatar Petroleum, weighed in on the potential effects of the trade war on natural gas suppliers.

“I think it needs to be looked at carefully because I don’t think it’s to the benefit of the oil and gas industry to have politics and taxation enter into this,” he said.

AAA’s update on steady gas prices comes after a mixture of different predictions on how Hurricane Florence would affect gas prices in the days leading up to the storm. Just five days ago, Fortune reported that some believed gas prices would spike as a result of east coast fuel needs during and after the storm. However, it seems that this has not yet happened.

Then, just three days ago, NWI Times reported that national gas prices were not predicted to increase as a result of the storm. According to the article, the current hurricane would not be hitting the oil-heavy Gulf coast areas like prior times.