Gas prices spike in Tampa Bay after in Hurricane Harvey aftermath

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

How much is gas?

These total and partial shutdowns have wiped out about 4 million barrels of refining capacity, Platts estimates.

Harvey has wreaked havoc on US energy infrastructure along the Texas Gulf Coast, which is home to about 30 refineries that produce gasoline, diesel and other fuels.

Patrick DeHaan, an analyst for GasBuddy, predicts that USA gasoline prices will top out around $2.50 or $2.55 a gallon, an increase of up to 20 cents since Harvey hit, with bigger spikes closer to the Gulf.

"The near-term combinations of Labor Day, increased demand and the tightened supply levels in the Gulf means US motorists are likely to see gas prices increase 5 to 15 cents in the coming week", Michael Blasky, spokesman for AAA Northern California, said in a statement. "But, there is no way to say with absolute surety how much they will jump".

No indication has been given of how long the refineries will be closed, Nelson said.

"Who knows what is going to take place", said Rud. "So, it's a waiting game right now".

A major pipeline supplying the East Coast with gasoline remains shut down - partly because with refineries closed, there is nothing to ship, but also because of damage in at least three areas.

Since 2005 and 2008, the Marcellus and Utica shales have been developed and are supplying natural gas, Burd said.

Waskevich was optimistic, however, that any Harvey-related gas price spike "shouldn't last long".

"But that was before the Marcellus Shale and the Utica Shale", Burd said.

Harvey, now a tropical storm impacting parts of Texas and Louisiana, has brought massive flooding to Houston and neighboring cities. Refiners still open are running like mad to close the gasoline deficit and the higher prices that come with that demand. Of course, we don't have spare barrels of gasoline we can send down there.

"The recent, rare eclipse event casts some uncertainty on Labor Day travel projections", Conde said. The possible gas price increase comes at a time when many Carolinians are making plans to take a final summer vacation with a road trip for the Labor Day holiday. The price threatened to go below $40 earlier this summer.

Latest News