According to an oil industry expert, Hurricane Ian will not be the cause of higher oil and eventually gasoline prices across the U.S.

KGVO News spoke to Patrick DeHaan, an analyst with Gas Buddy about the dire warning issued by President Biden to oil companies not to take advantage of the hurricane to raise the price of oil. DeHaan said the President’s comments were merely political rhetoric.

Biden's Warnings to Oil Companies 'a lot of hoopla'

“I think it's a lot of political hoopla with a statement warning oil companies,” began DeHaan. “In my career of watching markets for 10 or 15 years, I have not seen gas stations raising their prices unless their cost goes up, which can happen during hurricanes, especially hurricanes that shut down the supply. But for now, because of Ian staying away from the Gulf of Mexico and refineries and offshore oil platforms, any impact at the pump is not going to be due to the storm.”

That being said, DeHaan said other refinery issues across the U.S. are causing gas prices to rise, despite the powerful hurricane that flattened part of central Florida.

Refinery Issues are Still Causing Gas Prices to Rise

“A myriad of refinery issues in different regions of the country are overpowering declines and other regions,” he said. “The West Coast is seeing prices skyrocket. California prices are up 50 cents a gallon in the last week in some areas because of refinery issues, and those impacts are bringing prices higher. Washington, Oregon, California, and areas of Las Vegas, and Western Arizona as well, are all seeing a large impact because of refinery issues. As for our other regions, including the plains states and Great Lakes, there have been several refinery fires that have impacted gasoline supply causing prices to skyrocket.”

Even though the price of gas did not fall steadily as it did in recent weeks in other parts of the country, DeHaan said prices in Missoula will remain near four dollars a gallon for regular unleaded.

“It looks like for now for most of Missoula we are seeing prices kind of around that ballpark of just under $4 a gallon,” he said. $3.98, $3.93, and $3.91 at the Costco, which is just a little bit under the statewide average in Montana, which now stands at about $3.94.”

For oil companies its not politics, it's the old-fashioned profit motive

DeHaan said the oil industry doesn’t pay as much attention to politics as it does to the old-fashioned profit motive of supply and demand.

“The oil companies will produce as much as they can as long as the price is conducive of being able to turn a profit,” he said. “We have seen that as oil prices have dropped. Organizations like OPEC have threatened to cut production. We have seen a slower increase in U.S. oil production, perhaps as a result of that. But oil companies continue to produce over 12 million barrels of oil in the U.S. every day. So certainly there has not been much slowdown in oil production but rather historically, U.S. domestic oil production remains near record levels.”

DeHaan said the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine will continue to cause economic turmoil in Europe and Asia as the winter approaches.

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

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