LIMA — Gas prices were up to their highest levels of 2017 in Allen County, but that has more to do with the Hurricane Harvey’s path through Texas than this week’s problems in Florida. Still, prices should settle out, an industry expert said.
The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $2.70 Monday afternoon, up a quarter from Monday morning’s average of $2.42 in the county, according to GasBuddy.com.
“Harvey may be long gone, but his wrath continued to drive gasoline prices up in much of the country in the last week,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, in a statement. “However, the effects are finally starting to weaken as refineries return to production and fuel begins to flow once again from many Houston refineries.”
DeHaan suspected prices had hit their peak, though, as Hurricane Irma shouldn’t greatly affect any refineries.
“Once again, motorists shouldn’t expect to see any impact from Irma on gasoline prices due to the path being a considerable distance from sensitive areas of the energy sector,” DeHaan said. “With summer driving season now over, motorists stand to benefit from falling demand, which will help refineries bring gasoline inventories back to normal and thus gas prices, but as many Americans are now acutely aware, the impact on gas prices can outlive a storm, especially one like Harvey.”
On Monday morning, most area counties saw slight decreased from last week’s tallies until prices rocketed up during the day.
Hardin County had an average of $2.31 on Monday morning, the cheapest average in the region. Shelby County was next at $2.35, followed by Auglaize ($2.38), Hancock ($2.39), Mercer ($2.42), Allen ($2.42), Putnam ($2.42), Logan ($2.54) and Van Wert ($2.56) counties.
Allen County’s tally Monday was up from the previous high of $2.54 recorded Sept. 4. It’s likely to leave drivers nostalgic for the $2.01 they paid back in January, but it’s still lower than the all-time high of $4.16 recorded in Allen County on May 4, 2011.