Because Hurricane Harvey temporarily shut down 25 percent of the nation's refining capacity, the national average price of gasoline was driven up nearly 35 cents, AAA Northern California reported Wednesday morning.
California doesn't depend on the Gulf Coast to supply gasoline, AAA Northern California spokesman Michael Blasky said. But drivers here are paying the highest prices in the U.S. The average price in Modesto is up 44 cents from a year ago.
The cheapest price for regular unleaded in Modesto within 48 hours was $2.75 at Modesto Truck Plaza, Seventh Street near East Hatch Road, according to modestogasprices.com on Wednesday morning. Several Arco stations around town, as well as Costco at Pelandale Avenue and Sisk Road, were selling for $2.77.
The highest price for regular unleaded was $3.39, at the Chevron station at Crows Landing and West Grayson roads,
The average price in Modesto, said the website (part of GasBuddy.com), was $3.03. That national average Wednesday morning was $2.66, it said. Prices were trending upward.
A year ago, the average price in Modesto was $2.59, and the U.S. average $2.18.
Looking at the greater Modesto area within the past 48 hours, Triple R Gas and Market in Waterford matched Modesto Truck Plaza's $2.75 price. The highest price in the area was $3.49, charged by the Shell station on Ingram Creek and Howard roads in Westley.
Prices jumped by double-digits across the Golden State, Blasky said, with Northern Californians paying about 18 cents more at the pump since AAA’s last survey Aug. 9.
"An incident as severe as Harvey will have a big impact on the global supply chain," Blasky said in a news release. “Combined with strong summer travel demand, motorists in California are seeing the highest gas prices in two years."
However, he noted, prices held steady over the past five days, stabilizing as Houston refineries returned to production. “Gas prices historically fall after Labor Day," Blasky said, "so drivers should expect to pay lower prices unless there’s another disruption in the oil market.”