Monday, 24 September, 2018

Gas Prices Rising In The Wake Of Hurricane Harvey

Gas Prices Rising In The Wake Of Hurricane Harvey Gas Prices Rising In The Wake Of Hurricane Harvey
Kelvin Reese | 31 August, 2017, 01:44

The last time prices were that high for Labor Day was September 2015.

The storm has affected millions barrels per day of refining capacity in the United States, affecting the ability to export gas and diesel to countries such as Canada.

Allison Mac, petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com, said it's unlikely stations will run low on gas even though 16 percent of the nation's refining capacity was idled by the storm.

AAA predicts the next 10 days will see the highest surge in prices of 2017, "likely pushing the national price for gasoline to the $2.50 range and keeping California above $3 a gallon". It's up a penny already since yesterday.

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.

"In terms of product price increases, it might get worse before it gets better", said Rob Smith, an energy analyst with IHS Markit. "It could be a week if not longer before Corpus Christi is at normal operations".

"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.

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.

Kim Fundingsland/MDN The price of gasoline increased at some pumps in Minot as of midday Tuesday.

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Inability for workers to get to refineries is a concern.

"If you are a refiner, you are pretty happy", DeHaan said.

Damage to the refineries and timelines until they are back up and running is still unknown. "They are seeing the highest crack spreads of the year". That's up five cents from Tuesday and up 10 cents from the August 21 statewide average of $2.18. "It's always a caveat". While those production facilities are down, the USA market is losing about 3 million barrels of gasoline a day. Here's the current low prices leaderboard for Roseville.

"Gas prices will go up".

Right now, the statewide average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in SC is $2.10 and in North Carolina is $2.22.

"While U.S. refining capabilities are now diminished, overseas refiners can pick up some of the slack", said Pavel Molchanov, an energy analyst at the investment firm Raymond James.

"We'll see prices increase, but it's just short term", she said. "But this is a misconception".

DeHaan said gasoline prices at the pump will eventually recede, but not before the flood waters tell the full story.

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