Gas prices in Bulloch County rise due to Hurricane Harvey

Chelsea West
August 31, 2017

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. Higher gasoline prices could run into seasonally lower demand as summer ends, undermining those higher refining margins, especially if Jones Act restrictions on shipping barrels between USA ports were waived temporarily to deal with the emergency (as happened after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012).

Gasoline prices could rise from 5 to 15 cents, said Traci Nelson of the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association. Prices rose 2 1/2 cents overnight around the nation, according to a release from AAA Idaho.

"I feel bad for all the people over there, so a spike in gas prices here is nothing in comparison", said Kelly Youngblood.

A crucial factor to consider is uncertainty - since the extent of disruption to the energy industry is still being assessed. The storm has forced shipping ports to close as well. The refinery won't reopen until waters recede. The average Kansas per gallon price is $2.28 today, up five cents from Tuesday and up 10 cents from its August 21 statewide average of $2.18. "Once everything is back online and functioning at full capacity, prices will drop". The term refers to the differential in crude oil prices and the price of gas products that refineries are able to churn out. Prices are likely to rise even more in the Gulf Coast. "So while gas prices will remain at a higher level after Labor Day, we should see prices dropping off toward the middle to end of September", assuming all goes well. The source added that the impact from the storm would "linger for several days".

"What does that mean for the average driver?" "A lot of that is tied to Labor Day demand, but there could be some ripple effect from Harvey as well".

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One of the easiest ways you can pay less for gas is to avoid the "convenience" trap. In the Wichita area, major gas station retailers boosted per-gallon prices from $2.29 to $2.49 in many locations today. The Gulf Coast will see prices climb roughly 25 to 30 cents.

Jody Palmer of Sacramento is a bit more sympathetic - at least when it comes to the hurricane victims.

But Jenkins said the impact on your wallet shouldn't be too dramatic. Oakland- $3.03/g, up 2.0 cents per gallon from last week's $3.01/g.

The nation's least expensive markets are SC ($2.11), Alabama ($2.12), Arkansas ($2.12), MS ($2.12), Oklahoma ($2.13), Missouri ($2.14), Virginia ($2.15), Louisiana ($2.16), Tennessee ($2.16) and Texas ($2.17). "These behaviors could lead to gas shortages across the Carolinas".

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