As a result, TrueCar isn't changing its forecast for October U.S. auto sales. Toprak predicts that more than 1.1 million vehicles will be sold in October, up 11.5 percent from the same month last year.
Forecasting firm LMC Automotive predicts that 1 percent to 3 percent of new-car sales, around 20,000 vehicles, will be lost because of the storm. But LMC analyst Jeff Schuster predicts that those sales will simply shift to November. So the storm might have little or no overall effect on sales.
Toprak also notes that dealers could gain sales once the storm is over if people need to replace damaged vehicles.
POWEREnergy outages and disruptions in major East Coast cities "may take a toll on (power) demand unlike anything we have seen before," Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst for Price Futures Group, wrote in a report. Owners of the six biggest refineries in the Northeast shut down two and cut production at most of the others. That includes a full shutdown of the Phillips 66 refinery in Linden, N.J., the second-biggest in the Northeast at 285,000 barrels per day. The biggest refinery in the area, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, was nearly shut. Oil prices fell as it appeared the massive storm will reduce demand by keeping drivers off the road and shutting businesses. Once the storm passes, gas station managers have to work to make sure they have enough gasoline to sell. Those that operate under a major brand such as Mobil, Shell or BP and have supply agreements may be able to get only a portion of their allotment. They have to compete with non-branded gas station operators for the rest and pay whatever the going rate is. "The challenge isn't when everyone is hunkered down and there are no cars on the road," says Jeff Lenard of the National Association of Convenience Stores. "The problem is how fast can you be replenished. You don't want to be the guy with the bagged pumps."
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