Gas prices likely to rise as Harvey takes out refineries
31 August, 2017, 01:46 | Author: Gladys Mathis
Hurricane Harvey and its catastrophic flooding have halted production at Gulf Coast refineries, virtually guaranteeing spikes in gas prices across the country - but Inland Northwest residents shouldn't expect to see much of an impact from the storm at area gas pumps.
At $2.40 per gallon, on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, AAA confirmed the national gas price average was six cents more expensive on the week, and one of the largest one-week increases recorded this summer.
Despite the potential for gas price increases and shortages, oil and gasoline inventories across the country have been sitting at high levels all season. More than a quarter of those refineries were knocked offline by the storm, decreasing daily production of oil by more than 2.5 million barrels, according to AAA.
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 prices tend to drop 20 cents or so in September, but with supply being down, it will most likely take a bit longer".
Jeanette Casselano, a spokeswoman at AAA, said gas prices were already expected to rise over Labor Day Weekend as far back as July.
"We'll see prices increase, but it's just short term", she said. As a result, if refineries restart and crude oil and employees can get to them, they is enough product to refine.
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Along the Gulf Coast, 45% of US oil refineries are located in Texas and Louisiana.
Among the reasons for Harvey's minimal effect on gas prices in the Pacific and Inland Northwest are the sources for fuel sold at Washington and Idaho pumps. "If some of these refineries are flooded, it's going to take weeks to get the water out of there and then get into damage assessment".
Most Jacksonville stations were at $2.19 a gallon Monday. "This summer, eclipse travel injected an extra burst of demand for Idaho fuel that has carried over into Labor Day weekend".
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