NEW YORK/NEW JERSERY:
The long lines are gone but motorists in New York and New Jersey are still paying as much as 30 cents more per gallon than they did a year ago. Even before Superstorm Sandy, drivers in the both states — and elsewhere in the Northeast — were paying higher prices because refinery issues caused temporary supply shortages in late summer. Just as supplies were being replenished, Sandy hit. Refineries were shut down, oil imports were delayed and many gas stations were without power. Drivers who didn't want to risk running out of gas waited on lines for hours to fill up. New Jersey and then New York imposed gas rationing. Prices rose more than 10 cents in New York City, Long Island and certain parts of New Jersey, according to AAA.
Wednesday average price: $3.92/gal
Versus year ago: Up 27 cents
Wednesday's average price: $3.55
Versus year ago: Up 30 cents
Gas prices have dropped about 70 cents after jumping above $4 a gallon in May. Most drivers are now getting a discount of about 20 cents compared with last year.
The reason: West Coast refineries, which had been closed for fires or other maintenance, are operating again. That includes BP's Cherry Point refinery in Blaine, Wash. Washington also is benefiting from cheaper crude delivered by rail from the Bakken shale region in North Dakota, where oil production is booming. Bakken crude is on average about $4 cheaper than oil at the Clearbrook, Minn., pricing hub, says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service.
Wednesday average price: $3.51
Versus year ago: Down 19 cents
Utah's gain has been Nevada's loss — and in this case Nevada is happier. Utahns are paying about 30 cents more per gallon than last year. Traditionally, the gas produced by Utah's five refineries was kept in-state, meaning lower gas prices, particularly when demand fell during the winter. That changed in the fall of 2011 when a pipeline opened between Utah and Las Vegas. That's taken the extra capacity away from Utah and helped balance supplies in Nevada, which also gets some gasoline from California, Kloza said. The average price for gas in Las Vegas is about 6 cents cheaper than Utah's state average. A year ago, Utah prices were about 18 cents cheaper than in Las Vegas.