U.S. fuel prices spike in Hur­ri­cane Har­vey’s wake

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The price of gaso­line has surged across the United States in the wake of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

Av­er­age gaso­line prices in all 50 states spiked in the past week, with the na­tional av­er­age jump­ing 25 cents a gal­lon to $2.64. It was the big­gest weekly in­crease since 2005, when Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina caused prices to soar 49 cents in a week, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from on­line fuel-source provider GasBuddy.

“It’s been one of the most chal­leng­ing weeks faced in years,” said Pa­trick DeHaan, se­nior pe­tro­leum an­a­lyst for GasBuddy. “Un­til Texas can re­cover from Har­vey, gaso­line prices will likely con­tinue to re­main el­e­vated.”

Rain­fall from Har­vey flooded oil re­finer­ies and wind and waves closed ports, caus­ing dis­rup­tions to oil re­finer­ies, with more than a dozen shut­ting down. Har­vey shut­tered over a quar­ter of the coun­try’s re­fin­ing ca­pac­ity. The in­ter­rup­tion to gaso­line pro­duc­tion re­sulted in a leap in gas prices, with the big­gest in­creases gen­er­ally east of the Rock­ies.

Eigh­teen states saw av­er­age gas prices rise by more than 30 cents per gal­lon com­pared with a week ago. Th­ese ten states saw the largest weekly rise: Delaware (42 cents), New Jer­sey (39 cents), Ge­or­gia (38 cents), Mary­land (38 cents), New Hamp­shire (38 cents), Ten­nessee (37 cents), Con­necti­cut (37 cents), Mas­sachusetts (37 cents), South Carolina (36 cents) and North Carolina (36 cents).

The states with the small­est gains were: Hawaii (0.2 cents), Utah (3 cents), Idaho (5 cents), Ore­gon (6 cents), Alaska (6 cents), Wash­ing­ton (7 cents), Ne­vada (7 cents), Michi­gan (8 cents), Ari­zona (9 cents), Mon­tana (9 cents) and In­di­ana (10 cents).

States with the low­est av­er­age gaso­line prices per gal­lon are: South Carolina ($2.37), Louisiana ($2.38), Arkansas ($2.40), Mis­souri ($2.41), Mis­sis­sippi ($2.45), Ari­zona ($2.45), Kansas ($2.46), Alabama ($2.50), South Dakota ($2.50) and Min­nesota ($2.50).

DeHaan said the big­gest in­creases in the price of gaso­line are be­hind us. While prices may edge higher in some states for sev­eral more days, the na­tional av­er­age is likely to peak later this week. “The sit­u­a­tion is be­gin­ning to look up, with many re­finer­ies ei­ther back on­line or in the process, and gaso­line pro­duc­tion is ramp­ing back up,” he said.

Con­cern now is turn­ing to Hur­ri­cane Irma, a Cat­e­gory 5 hur­ri­cane mov­ing west and threat­en­ing to slam into north­east­ern Caribbean is­lands and Puerto Rico by Wed­nes­day be­fore pos­si­bly hit­ting the U.S. main­land. Irma was about 270 miles east of An­tigua and Bar­buda Tues­day morn­ing, head­ing west with max­i­mum sus­tained winds of 175 miles per hour.

The most re­cent Cat­e­gory 5 hur­ri­cane hemi­sphere was Matthew last Oc­to­ber.

“With Hur­ri­cane Irma’s track hard to nail down, there may be vary­ing im­pacts as a re­sult,” said DeHaan. “Gas prices are un­likely to see a sim­i­lar in­crease with Irma if the storm does not tar­get the sen­si­tive heart of the Gulf, where much of the South’s oil in­fra­struc­ture stands.”

in the west­ern

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