Harvey expected to increase gas prices across Hampton Roads

As Harvey takes aim at Texas, the state has closed several oil refineries in our nation's largest refining hub. This will impact gas prices in Texas, but could also raise prices around the country.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The prices at the pump are already climbing in the gulf coast, and soon enough Hurricane Harvey will be hurting wallets all across the country.

“Our gasoline market is nationwide, and the Houston area accounts for approximately 1/3 of gasoline refining in the United States. If there’s a shortage of gasoline coming out of Houston, there just isn’t sufficient capacity on the other coasts to make it up,” Old Dominion University economics professor Robert McNab said.

McNab expects to see a 5-15 cent spike in the next week, and come Labor Day weekend, it could get even worse.

“The hurricane is arriving on the Labor Day season. We should expect another 5-15 cent rise in gas prices, and that should continue until mid-September, depending on the damage from the hurricane,” he said.

Business owner Robert Peet knows he will take a hit.

“Without gas I can’t run my business because my business is mobile and I travel quite a lot.”

Peet drives an ice cream truck all across Hampton Roads and depends heavily on gas.

“In business you get ups and downs and things happen, so I take them as they come,” he said.

When Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005, prices rose 40 cents overnight.

“That 40 cent rise was in prices for several months because of the damage to refineries and transportation infrastructure,” McNab said.

Mcnab said if Harvey is as catastrophic, we could be looking at a prolonged gas hike event.

“Hurricanes are uncertain so if there’s excessive flooding and damage to rail and transport networks we would expect the spike in prices would be sustained throughout the fall,” he said. 

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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