Sept. 04–Gas prices were rising Tuesday as Tropical Storm Gordon threatens to make landfall tonight along the energy critical Gulf Coast.
Wholesale gasoline prices were up about 4 cents a gallon as National Hurricane Center models had the storm landing somewhere between Florida’s western Panhandle and the central Louisiana coast. That means higher gas prices are probably coming to gas stations, too.
Crude oil futures prices were also up about 1 percent in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gordon is rattling traders because the storm threatens to disrupt the critical region where most of the country’s gas is refined.
“If Gordon shifts slightly to the west, there could be a handful of oil refineries in its path,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with Gasbuddy. “Compared to Hurricane Harvey and Irma last year, it’s a relatively low concern, but it’s still a sensitive region for energy.”
The storm is expected to make landfall as a category one hurricane and drop between 4 to 8 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
Last year when Hurricane Harvey landed in Texas, refineries endured winds well, but extreme rainfall and power outages made it difficult for refineries.
“Some refineries were out for an extended amount of time, some just couldn’t get workers there,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA of the South. “Gordon looks like a fast-moving storm. It’s hard to predict this kind of thing.”
Last year gas prices in the Orlando area spiked about 50 cents a gallon between Aug. 22, when Harvey began developing and Sept. 16, when the bulk of Florida’s gasoline supply lines and retail stations resumed operations.
Gasoline prices in the Orlando metropolitan area are down about a half-cent on average overnight, but still up 8 cents from a week ago. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is about $2.77, according to AAA.
“One a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of worry, Gordon is about a 1 or a 2,” DeHaan said. “Irma and Harvey were about an 8 in terms of the impact on fuel.”
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