Gas pump prices fall in wake of Sandy

NEW YORK — The price of gasoline fell Tuesday after Hurricane Sandy left a wide swath of flooding, power outages and disrupted transportation in the eastern U.S.

The national average for a gallon of regular fell by about a penny, to $3.53. That’s more than 11 cents lower than a week ago. Gasoline futures fell a penny to $2.63.

With many roads impassable, drivers won’t be filling up as much, which will slow demand for gasoline.

“It will take some time before we can get demand anywhere close to normal,” independent energy analyst Phil Flynn wrote in his daily energy report. “Many people are staying home if possible.”

Major refineries in the East, which represent about 8 percent of U.S. capacity, have shut down or reduced operations because of the huge storm. Phillips 66 said Tuesday that its 238,000 barrels-per-day Bayway Refinery at Linden, N.J., is without power and has some flooding. It has been down since Sunday.

Hess Corp.’s refinery at Port Reading, N.J., is also without power. The company said operations are suspended at terminals in New York Harbor, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia.

Crude imports likely will be reduced until East Coast ports recover. Many ports that shut down ahead of the hurricane have yet to reopen.

Concerns about oil supplies helped push the price of benchmark crude up 34 cents to $85.88 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price many international varieties of crude, fell 41 cents to $109.03 per barrel.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

•Natural gas lost 11 cents to $3.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Heating oil was down 2 cents to $3.07 per gallon.

The Nymex is closed Tuesday because of the storm, but electronic trading continues.

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