"The good news is we have ample supply of gasoline, so we look in the supply department, but I can't tell you how high prices are going to get", said Tiffany Wright, Spokesperson for AAA. He explained refineries in Texas are simply underwater and shut down a portion of the pipeline until the water recedes.
Fuel prices at the pump likely are to climb after Colonial Pipeline, the largest USA gasoline conduit, was forced to shut its main diesel line late Wednesday and planned to halt its gasoline line Thursday because about half of Gulf Coast refining capacity was offline.
Gas prices may rise slightly in Alabama, but prices generally tend to rise around the Labor Day travel holiday. It can transport up to 2.5 million barrels a day of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, and is directly connected to several airports, including Nashville, Charlotte and Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.
The effect will continue for several weeks, if not months, after Harvey hammered the Gulf Coast for several days, causing floods that buried Houston and the surrounding area in several feet of water.
The storm, which lashed Louisiana with rain yesterday, has pummelled the US Gulf Coast, burying Houston and the surrounding area under several feet of rain and forcing the closure of almost a quarter of US refining capacity.
That artery can carry 3 million barrels of gasoline and other products daily. With the Colonial pipeline down, some gas stations could soon be tapped out.
Gas prices have skyrocketed since Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast and shutdown refining and pipeline operations. AAA says in Philadelphia, the average price of a regular gallon is $2.65, an 11 cent jump in a week.
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In fact, average prices in the Wilkes-Barre area have shot up 14 cents per gallon in the last week.
Friday's average gas price in Wilkes-Barre jumped to $2.66, up 8 cents overnight and 14 cents in the last week.
Valero stopped supplying gasoline stations across the Northeast at stores that don't carry its logo, while Shell reduced supplies to some company-branded stations in the lower Atlantic, according to people familiar with the operations of both companies who asked not to be identified. Harvey's devastating strike on the Gulf Coast has prompted one of the summer's largest one-week price surges, AAA reported.
This past weekend's storm is moving on from the Gulf region; however, its impact on fuel supplies could be felt as far away as the East Coast.
Colonial continues to ship as much gasoline and other refined products as available from Louisiana-based refineries and other refineries on the Colonial system east of Lake Charles, and will continue to do so as markets return to normal.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Thursday he is releasing 500,000 barrels of crude oil from an emergency stockpile in a bid to prevent gasoline prices from spiking in the wake of disruptions caused by Harvey, according to the Associated Press. Pipelines and terminals have also been restarting over the weekend, assuaging worries over the ability of refineries to get the crude oil they need to operate.