Fuel prices rise in wake of hurricane
By Jay Langston
Hurricane Harvey did little more than dump about 4 inches of rain on Lewisburg and surrounding communities, but it did have a big impact on local fuel prices.
Prices at the pump for Regular 87 octane with 10 percent ethanol have climbed an average of 10 cents per day at several gas stations around the county.
Prior to the story, prices were as low as $1.99 per gallon around Lewisburg. As of Tuesday morning, those same locations had spiked to $2.49 per gallon.
At the Farmers Co-Op in Lewisburg prices rose from the “Harvey effect” starting at $2.09 and rising to $2.49 as of Tuesday. “I just ordered some fuel in and my broker told me it could go up another 10 cents per gallon,” Co-Op Manager Blake Atkins said. “Right now, we’re out of conventional gas (ethanol free), and we don’t know the price yet.”
Some of the reasons for the price hikes include 105 oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico shutting down production and evacuated until the hurricane passed, according to Federal officials. According to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Approximately 22 percent of the oil produced in the Gulf was shut down as of Sunday. At an average of 379,000 barrels of oil per day, production shutdowns now top the 2 million barrel deficit.
Houston, where Harvey made landfall three times, also boasts a huge fuel refinery capacity for much of the country. Some estimates put the Texas coastal refineries as producing roughly one-quarter of U.S. gasoline and diesel. Ten oil refinery plants in the Corpus Christi and the Houston area shut down during the storm and damage from the storm still won’t be known for several days. Standard & Poor estimated Sunday that roughly 2.2 million barrels of oil refining capacity were forced offline due to the storm.
According to the AAA motor club, contracts for September wholesale gasoline deliveries rose 25.5 cents a gallon late last week, signaling higher prices at the pump.
How high will consumer gas prices go? “Who knows,” Atkins concluded.