Pump Prices Along the East Coast Are Rising on Gasoline Shortage

A Hess Corp. gas station in Brooklyn
Cars pull in to refuel at a Hess Corp. gas station in Brooklyn. (Craig Warga/Bloomberg News)

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Gasoline shortages rippling across the East Coast are driving up pump prices from New York to Maine, potentially frustrating the Biden administration’s effort to rein in energy costs ahead of the election.

Pump prices in the Northeast jumped overnight, bucking the downward trend seen across the rest of the country. The culprit: Some fuel terminals in the region are running out of fuel as imports slow amid a global energy crisis.

High pump prices have become a political pain point for Democrats, with the November election looming. While the Biden administration has touted its success in bringing down gasoline costs, prices remain significantly higher than a year ago, with some of the highest prices in swing states that could determine which party controls Congress.

Chart of gas price increases

Though the U.S. is a massive gasoline producer, much of the fuel made on the Gulf Coast refining hub is exported to Latin America, with infrastructure constraints leaving the East Coast reliant on imports from overseas. But those imports have slowed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted energy supplies across Europe and rerouted flows elsewhere.

Gasoline and blending component shipments into New York are 25% lower than October of last year, according to Vortexa data compiled by Bloomberg. Supplies in the New York Harbor region are at the lowest in a decade for this time of year.

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