Motorists can expect to pay more at the pump when Hurricane Harvey makes landfall later today or early Saturday. Higher prices may even be felt here in Rochester.
Harvey will shut down refineries in the nation’s largest refining hub in Texas, GasBuddy experts say, and some stations in Houston already have no gasoline.
“This storm came out of left field and while we were all watching the eclipse, Harvey was gaining steam and pushing forward. The impact on Texas could be significant, which could lead to long-term issues in terms of gasoline supply for large portions of the country,” GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said in a statement. “While the picture continues to change, one thing is nearly guaranteed: gasoline prices in every state will be impacted to varying degrees over the next one to two weeks, possibly longer, so buckle up and be ready.”
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused a 40-cent increase in gas prices overnight.
A hurricane merely needs to threaten an area with refining capacity to result in precautionary shutdowns, AAA officials said. Corpus Christi, which is home to five refineries and splitters, is currently under a National Weather Service hurricane warning.
“A hurricane like this typically causes an increase in fuel purchases in the market and a slowdown in retail demand,” said AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano. “Spikes in pump prices due to the effects of hurricanes tend to be brief but dramatic. This impact is starting in Texas, where the average price for unleaded gas has already jumped up two cents since Tuesday to $2.15 a gallon.”
Locally, gas prices this week averaged $2.39 a gallon, relatively unchanged since the beginning of August. A year ago, Rochester drivers paid $2.32 a gallon, while five years ago motorists here were paying $3.84 at the pump.
The average price for a gallon of gas nationally this week stood at $2.32, GasBuddy reported. AAA reported that gas prices nationally are roughly 17 cents more expensive than a year ago.
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