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Gas prices continue to plunge; little impact from Nate expected

Lee Herald Favicon 16The post-hurricane downswing in gas prices continues as fuel flows back to pumps in the area and around the nation.

According to the American Automobile Association, gas prices in Florida have fallen by eight cents over the last week, down to $2.53 per gallon on average Monday. The national average fell six cents to $2.49.

In Southwest Florida, an area where gas shortages before and immediately after Hurricane Irma were widespread, the supply shock which saw prices shooting upward has subsided, with steadily falling prices at the pump the case locally as well.

Lee County average prices Monday were $2.46 per gallon, while in Naples they were $2.58. But at some membership clubs, posted prices were down below $2.40 per gallon in areas, according to GasBuddy.

“The state average is falling by about a cent a day, as retail prices continue to recover from the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group.  “Gas prices remain inflated by about 20-30 cents, and should decline another 5-10 cents this week. Hurricane Nate’s impact on the Gulf Coast region should not affect local prices. However, if refineries and oil rigs have a difficult time resuming normal operations, and futures prices spike, then the local gas price plunge could stall out. This is something that will take a few days to play out.”

Going into the weekend, there was more concern about storms in the Gulf of Mexico, as Hurricane Nate ran toward the Mississippi River Delta, and toward a large concentration of offshore oil platforms in the Gulf.

But it appears that the storm’s fast pace, and relatively small hurricane wind field made for limited impacts. AAA reports that two refineries that shut down ahead of Nate were ready to reopen Monday.

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