Gas prices shot up quickly after Hurricane Harvey, but don’t expect them to come down nearly as fast.
Instead, they’re edging lower.
The average price of a gallon of regular fell about a penny to $2.65 a gallon according to AAA’s Thursday reading, down two cents from a week ago when prices were at their 2017 high.
“Prices go up like a rocket and come down like a feather,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service. “We need a lot of feathers to catch up with the rocket ship.”
Prices jumped 32 cents a gallon in just two weeks as refineries in the Houston area were shuttered due to the storm. At one point, about 27% of the nation’s refining capacity was closed, but Kloza says nearly all of it is back online. High prices for gasoline, coupled with low prices for crude oil, has motivated refiners to rush and make as much gasoline as possible right now in order to reap profits.
“They’re making as much gasoline as they possibly can right now,” said Kloza.
Hurricane Irma didn’t drive up gas prices anywhere, except Florida which experienced widespread gasoline shortages as people rushed to fill up ahead of the storm.
Kloza expects prices to fall steadily through the rest of this year, with the national average falling back down to $2.25. He expects that half the country will be paying less than $2 a gallon by Christmas, which is often the low point of the year for gas prices.