Don't panic, Hurricane Harvey could send gas prices up

High gas prices

High gas prices

Gas prices could increase from 5 to 25 cents per gallon or more overnight or in the next several days, according to Carolinas AAA.

"You saw more of a spike in the last week because of the eclipse, so you likely won't see much more than you have already", Jeanette Casselano, AAA's national director of public relations, said of Pacific Northwest gas prices that have steadily risen in the past month.

The state average was $3.001 per gallon, while the national price was $2.378, AAA reported.

Post-eclipse pump prices are still climbing across Idaho amid high local demand, but higher prices and tight Gulf Coast supplies due to Hurricane Harvey are unlikely to derail Labor Day plans to visit family and friends to cap off the summer, says AAA.

"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".

It could take two weeks or longer before big refineries in the Houston area can recover from a record-setting deluge and resume normal operations. "It's still really early to tell what this is going to mean for long-term supply", said Denton Cinquegrana, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, of the shutdowns.

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According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Gulf of Mexico amounts to almost a fifth of the United States' total crude oil production.

At least 10 refineries have been closed around Houston and Corpus Christi, which have a capacity of 2 million barrels a day, according to S&P Global Platts.

According to GasBuddy historical data, gasoline prices on August 27 in Modesto have ranged widely over the last five years: $2.51/gallon in 2016, $3.01 in 2015, $3.74 in 2014, $3.62 in 2013 and $4.07/gallon in 2012. The Motiva Enterprises plant in Port Arthur, Texas, run by a unit of the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia, was the latest domino to fall among Gulf Coast refineries.

Motiva's massive Port Arthur refinery, the No. 1 refinery in the USA that is controlled by Saudi Aramco, began a controlled shutdown early Wednesday due to "increasing local flood conditions". Refineries not affected by the storm will work over time and benefit from "crack spread".

So far, though, there's been no impact in Albany, Myers said.

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