Prices were up almost 20 cents in Texas, where fuel shortages were already evident.
About 16.1 million people are expected to fly during a seven-day period from August 30 to September 5 on US airlines, the heart of the Labor Day travel period, according to Airlines for America.
Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton said consumers are putting undue demand on fuel and that’s making it hard to resupply gas stations in a timely fashion.
Instead, gasoline from Europe will be sent to Mexico, which relies on imports from the USA for a large portion of its fuel supply.
Currently, the average cost per gallon is $2.22, while the national average is $2.45.
AAA said the EPA is taking steps to help prices from going up too sharply by waiving environmental standards on gasoline for multiple counties in Texas. “But that’s a short team uptick, and it’s only because most of America’s refining capacity is on the Gulf Coast”, said Broussard.
This development is said to be frustrating for OPEC countries now restricting oil supplies in an attempt to push prices higher.
How long the spike in prices lasts will depend on how quickly Gulf Coast refineries are back in business, especially large facilities like Motiva’s Port Arthur, Texas, plant and the Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown, near Houston. But a portion of that is now being restored.
Nearly a week after Storm Harvey first made landfall in the US oil heartland of Texas, almost a third of USA oil refining capacity has been taken offline, representing roughly 4.4 million barrels per day.
Harvey, which raked across the Texas Gulf coast a week ago, has roiled global fuel markets.
In some markets where the flow of gasoline is not as abundant as it had been, prices were up much more. The disruption helped send motor fuel as much as 6.6 percent higher in NY, while the resulting reduction in demand from plants hit by the storm kept crude near a five-week low. Prices rose with the demand: One Chevron station in downtown Dallas that sold regular gas for $2.29 a gallon just before the storm was charging $2.99 on Thursday.
In addition, about 18 percent of natural gas production was still suspended, down from 25 percent Sunday.
“Hence, the negative impact on crude oil demand and oil product supply might be less severe than feared”. “The system is equipped to have everybody with a half tank or so”. But, he says, rumors of gas shortages are mostly what’s driving a rush to fill up at the pump. A quick survey of some stations north of the Tar River and in the East 10th Street area Wednesday afternoon showed prices had risen to $2.45 a gallon.
The pipeline’s operator estimated Thursday that it can resume carrying fuel in the Houston area by Sunday, potentially avoiding a lengthy shutdown that would intensify gasoline shortages. In Atlanta, the average price was $2.50, up 11 cents from Thursday.
The nation’s largest refinery, in Port Arthur, Texas, is expected to be closed for at least two weeks, Reuters reported. Even companies that aren’t transporting fuel west are benefiting, according to Indian Oil Corp., the nation’s top refiner.