Sandy hasn’t affected diesel prices, reports say

| November 02, 2012

Despite Sandy’s destruction to the Northeast, AAA reports a slight drop in national diesel prices over the past week, even in New Jersey, where many pumps are closed.

On Nov. 1, AAA reported the average nationwide retail cost per gallon of diesel was $4.047 compared to $4.053 the day before.  A week ago, the national average was close to $4.095, and a month earlier it was slightly more than $4.082 .

New Jersey recently has experienced incremental drops in diesel statewide averages for diesel, the association reported. On Nov. 1, the average was 3.932 per gallon, compared to $3.934 the day before, $3.953 the week before and $3.945 a month earlier.

Still, New Jersey’ consumer affairs division reported sending teams to investigate hundreds of complaints over disaster-related price gouging of everything from retail fuel to hotels.

The post-tropical superstorm hit New Jersey and the New York City metropolitan area especially hard. Wide-spread power outages shut down numerous retail pumps in the region and consumer panic contributed to depleting fuel at many retail pumps.

Through Nov. 7, New Jersey officials have temporarily waived licensing requirements limiting merchants’ ability to buy fuel from out-of-state suppliers.

U.S. Department of Energy’s Oct. 29 retail fuel report was issued early Oct. 29, before Sandy made landfall at about 8 p.m. in Atlantic City. The department has postponed its next weekly next report until Nov. 5.

However, the DOE issued a Nov. 1 report on hurricane recovery. New York Harbor’s Phillips 66 refinery, which processes mainly light, low-sulfur crude oil was closed, as was Hess Port Reading N.J. refinery, albeit, the PR location does not process diesel.

The department listed Philadelphia’s Sonoco refinery, producer of refined product and crude oil, as limiting its operations. Motiva stated its New York and New Jersey terminals have had flooding and power loss, which included damage to two diesel storage tanks at Sewaren, N.J.

Numerous northeast petroleum terminals have reduced operations or shutdown.

The Colonial Pipeline shut down its mainline serving the Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York harbor markets. The DOE, citing trade publication reports, stated power may be restored by Nov. 9 and that Buckeye Partners LP began restarting six oil products pipelines Oct. 31.

Petro and Pilot Flying J reported all locations open. Love’s Travel Stop reported its Bordentown, N.J. was operating on generator power, but lack of power had shut down its Hamburg and Jonestown Pennsylvania truck stops as well as its Conneaut, Ohio location.