Gas Prices On The Rise After Hurricane Harvey

Javier Stokes
August 31, 2017

Hurricane Harvey has shut down completely or partially at least 14 oil refineries and gas prices could rise as much as 20 cents nationally and as much as 35 cents in parts of Texas and Louisiana, according to the Washington Post Wednesday.

The average national rise of gas costs in the last week at the pump is 5.6 cents, putting the average cost of a gallon of gasoline at $2.39, Gasbuddy reports.

Motorists throughout the US should expect gasoline prices to jump, while consumers driving in Texas, Louisiana and neighboring states will see the largest increase in the coming days and weeks. About a third of the nation's production capacity to refine crude old is in the affected areas, including the Exxon Mobil Baytown refinery, the second largest in the country that can process 584,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

Patrick DeHaan, an analyst for GasBuddy, predicts that USA gasoline prices will top out around $2.50 or $2.55 a gallon, an increase of up to 20 cents since Harvey hit, with bigger spikes closer to the Gulf.

Typically, gas prices begin to fall on the run up to Labor Day.

The Mid-Atlantic AAA predicts prices could go up between 15 to 25 cents per gallon.

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Besides gasoline prices, also impacted is the price for natural gas, according to Charlie Burd, executive director of the Independent Oil and Natural Gas Association of West Virginia. That's 11 cents below the national average of $2.37. "It means hang onto your wallet", said Phil Flynn, Price Futures Group senior market analyst and FOX Business Network contributor, during an interview on "Mornings with Maria".

"The impact could linger for several weeks or longer, depending on how long it takes Texas refiners to return to normal operations", said DeHaan.

"The effect we're seeing, so far, is from preparing for Labor Day", said Matthew Conde of AAA Oregon/Idaho, who said Idaho consumers can expect fuel prices to go up by 10 cents in some areas.

But down the street, at the QT, people fumed at what they will have to become accustomed to - prices over $2.44 a gallon.

The rise of the price is anticipated to be short-term if the refineries can start running back soon. "[Average] prices are now up to $2.40 a gallon and the increase could put us beyond the $2.42 mark, which is the highest we've already seen this year", she said. There, drivers will pay $2 a gallon at the Murphy USA on Eisenhower Road.

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