Hurricane Harvey's Reach Likely to Show Up at Gas Pumps

Violet Tucker
August 31, 2017

Although Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical storm, its aftermath is nothing short of catastrophic.

The high-demand summer driving season officially ends on Monday, Labor Day, further easing production pressure.

"Prices will likely rise almost country wide heading into Labor Day, from rural towns in the Rockies to major cities in the Midwest and West Coast - almost everyone will feel a bit of a pinch at the pump from Harvey". The national average has increased 6.0 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 14.4 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

AAA representatives say several factors have driven up the region's pump prices in recent weeks, and will continue to do so, but don't blame it all on Harvey.

Gas prices remained fairly stable in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, though prices rose in North Carolina and Washington, D.C., and decreased in DE and West Virginia.

Motiva, the nation's largest refinery, said early Wednesday that it was forced to close due to flooding, CNN reported.

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Rainfall from Harvey reached 49.2 inches, breaking the record for rainfall from a tropical storm in the contiguous United States. The previous record was 48 inches (1.22 meters) set in 1978 in Medina, Texas, by Tropical Storm Amelia.

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With supplies under pressure, the national average is already up almost 8 cents a gallon over the past week, according to GasBuddy's live ticking average. "Once everything is back online and functioning at full capacity, prices will drop".

Blasky noted that most Californians are already paying $3 or more for gas, and West Coast refineries have been running at high production levels to offset the summer demand. The price jumped about 2 ½ cents overnight. "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".

"What does that mean for the average driver?" Tuesdays are recommended for "topping off" because while prices are not the cheapest, they're still usually pretty good.

One of the easiest ways you can pay less for gas is to avoid the "convenience" trap. "Areas of the Gulf of Mexico will see prices go up between 20 and 35 cents", DeHaan told the Washington Post Tuesday.

Harvey isn't the first big storm to hit the refinery-rich Gulf Coast, but the oil industry has undergone big changes since the last major interruption from Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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