Friday, September 1, 2017

Gas prices surge as Harvey flooding threatens pipelines

Gas prices have surged in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, including in New York City, where the average price is at a high for the year.

The national average price for a gallon of regular spiked 7 cents overnight, from $2.45 Thursday to $2.52 Friday, according to the American Automobile Association.

In the Big Apple, the average price is up about 13 cents from a week ago, to $2.73.

In metropolitan areas such as Dallas and El Paso, Texas; Athens, Georgia; and Dayton, Ohio, prices jumped at least 15 cents in 24 hours, while several Southern states saw increases of at least 10 cents, the AAA reported.

Two major pipelines — one that ships gasoline from the Southern US to New York and another that runs north to Chicago — have been compromised as a result of flooding from Harvey.

In Dallas, some stations started to run out amid fears of a shortage in the aftermath of the Category 4 storm that made its first landfall in the state last week.

“There’s a worry now that most of the Texas refineries could be compromised for weeks rather than days,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks prices for AAA, according to CNNMoney.

Kloza noted the national average price for a gallon could get as high as $2.75.

Analysts warned motorists not to panic even as stations run low on gas.

When it comes to gas hoarders, analyst Patrick DeHaan says “that’s going to make the problem worse, and prices shoot higher and the event will last longer, with more disruption and shortages.”

He urged drivers to “try to have a sense of calm.”

The Texas Attorney General’s Office advised any motorists seeing gas prices of $4 or higher to report the stations as price-gougers.

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