10/31/2012 12:54 pm ET Updated Dec 18, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: Gas Prices Continue To Fall Despite Destruction

Despite speculation that Hurricane Sandy could cause a spike in gas prices, Americans are not experiencing much pain at the pump.

Gas prices have dropped 10 cents on average in the past week, according to AAA, the largest national motoring group. On Wednesday, the average price for a gallon of regular gas stood at $3.521, down about 26 cents from a month ago.

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"We have been on a steady road toward cheaper gas prices nationwide," Tom Kloza, chief analyst at Oil Price Information Systems, told USA Today. "The storm could mean a small wobble to the upside for a few days, but I suspect prices will resume their downward trend."

Hurricane Sandy forced the idling of about 70 percent of oil refineries on the East Coast, according to a report from IHS Global Insight. IHS predicts that gas prices may rise slightly in Sandy’s wake, but any impact on prices at the pump are likely to be relatively short-term, according to research firm Seeking Alpha. Damage to refineries was relatively minor, the Wall Street Journal reports.

IHS put the total cost of the hurricane at anywhere between $30 and $50 billion.

The Journal pointed out that Sandy hit during a time of year when demand for gas is traditionally 5 percent lower than in months like July and August. This indicates that any slowdown in supply for gas due to the storm will be met with a decrease in demand as well.

Before Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S., gas prices were steadily declining from this summer's record-highs.



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