Gas prices rose Monday across Dallas-Fort Worth after Hurricane Harvey forced refineries to shut down on the Gulf Coast. Experts said the spike in prices could last for weeks.
Motorists across Texas and the rest of the United States can expect to pay 5 to 15 cents a gallon more at the pump as refineries remain shut down while floodwaters recede.
At a Saginaw QuikTrip, a gallon of regular unleaded was advertised at $2.09 on Monday morning, but had risen to $2.24 a gallon by the afternoon.
“Historically, spikes in the prices at the pump due to hurricanes tend to be brief but dramatic,” said Daniel Armbruster, spokesman for AAA. “Some market analysts say 5 to 15 cents, but when you have a situation like this, with unprecedented flooding — and this storm has been catastrophic for so many people in such a widespread area — it’s hard to project how much of an effect it could have on gas prices.”
In Arlington, a QuikTrip near AT&T Stadium was selling gas for $2.29 a gallon, a dime higher than the average price on Sunday, according to GasBuddy. Prices were as low as $1.93 a gallon at a Costco at 8900 block of Tehama Ridge Parkway, near the intersection of Interstate 35W and North Tarrant Parkway in far north Fort Worth.
Statewide, the average price for regular unleaded gasoline rose to $2.17 a gallon on Sunday, 3 cents higher than the week before. In the Fort Worth-Arlington area, the price on Sunday was $2.19, up from $2.12 a week ago.
Residents who feel like they are victims of price gouging — the practice of over-charging customers for goods such as fuel during an emergency — can save their receipt and file a complaint with the Texas attorney general’s office online, or by calling 800-252-8011.
Nationwide, traders pushed gasoline futures to the highest level in two years in New York on Monday morning before prices eased later in the day. Gasoline for September delivery gained 4.57 cents to settle at $1.71 a gallon in New York, a four-month high, Bloomberg News reported.
Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Phillips 66 were among the refineries that closed temporarily, according to the Houston Chronicle. Those facilities represent no less than 12 percent of the refining capacity in the U.S. But other refineries in nearby Beaumont and Lake Charles, La., could be affected as Harvey moves east.
“We have a supply disruption event in gasoline production,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital in New York, told Bloomberg. “Gasoline demand in the balance of the country is still elevated, so we could see a real impact on gasoline inventories if these refineries are unable to get restaffed quickly.”
This article includes material from Bloomberg News.