It's not looking good for motorists: gasoline inventories are at their lowest early-September levels since 2008, when inventories were low because of Hurricane Ike. This time around its Hurricane Isaac that closed a good chunk of refining and production capacity, and we're again paying the price at the pump.

Monday, we talked about the national average hitting a September high, and part of the reason we're at this point is because of gasoline inventories. Currently, inventories stand at 197.7 million barrels, according to the EIA. Last September, inventories stood at 208.8 million barrels, and back in September 2010, they were at 225 million barrels. Pretty decent size decline when compared to previous years, most certainly.

Meanwhile, gasoline prices have done the opposite, rising to their highest late-September level ever seen, likely as the culprits we identified Monday (and here today) continue to factor in to prices.

Relief? It won't come overnight, especially as refineries use autumn to perform maintenance on their facilities (or perhaps to boost margins), but gradually, we'll likely see inventories rise and prices come down. Inventories have a history of rising into the autumn, and hopefully this year will be the same. Inventory gains over the last few years:

9/2011-1/2012: +11.2mb
9/2010-1/2011: -7.0mb
9/2009-1/2010: +12.7mb
9/2008-1/2009: +21.0mb
9/2007-1/2008: +4.3mb

We'll have to see where inventories go this year, but with the exception of 2010-2011 (economic recovery, lower production) all years have generally seen inventories rise!