Harvey Is Bad News for Nation's Drivers
What you need to know about gas prices, availability
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2017 1:26 PM CDT
In this Aug. 22, 2017, photo, vehicles fill up at the Texaco, which displays its gas prices for motorists in Madras, Ore.   (Andy Tullis/The Bulletin via AP)

(Newser) – Hurricane Harvey has devastated Texas, and it's also bringing bad news for drivers across the nation. Harvey's impact on the Gulf Coast caused several major refineries and a key gasoline pipeline to shut down, the AP reports. What that means:

  • Prices are on the rise: Per GasBuddy, the average price of a gallon of gas in the US was $2.469 Thursday afternoon. That's up 2.3 cents from Wednesday, 11.7 cents from last week, 15.1 cents from last month, and 24.3 cents from last year.
  • They're even higher in some areas: Reuters, citing AAA data, says fuel prices in Georgia and North Carolina are up 17 cents a gallon from a week ago; in South Carolina, almost 20 cents.
  • And they're likely to go higher: Per Business Insider, gas futures for both September and October are up. In fact, Thursday was their eighth straight day of gains, their longest rising streak in four years.

  • There's also the problem of gas availability: The AP reports that QuikTrip, one of the biggest convenience store chains in the country, is going to stop selling gas entirely at about half of its stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area in anticipation of shortages.
  • Even locations that have gas may run out: The Star-Telegram reports that convenience store operators and gasoline retailers are warning there's a major chance some Texas locations will run out of gas this weekend due to supply chain disruptions.
  • Specifics on those disruptions: Colonial, the largest pipeline operator in the country, has shut down key fuel lines (AL.com) and Motiva Enterprises' Port Arthur, Texas refinery, the biggest in the country, may be closed for as long as two weeks (CNBC). Some of the other refineries and pipelines affected are starting back up, CNBC reports.
  • A dire quote: "Hurricane Harvey has potentially cut US fuel-making capacity to the lowest level since 2008," per Bloomberg.
  • And another: "This is going to be the worst thing the US has seen in decades from an energy standpoint," a market analyst tells Reuters.
  • What's being done to help: Per Bloomberg, the EPA is exempting many southeastern states from requirements that they use fuel meeting clean-air standards. And CNNMoney reports the Trump administration is tapping the emergency US oil reserve; the Energy Department will send 500,000 barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to the Phillips 66 refinery in Louisiana. That could help with gas prices.

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