Hurricane Harvey is causing gas prices to rise along the coast, and South Carolina is seeing a 20 cent increase since before Harvey, according to a report from AAA.
“Consumers will see a short-term spike in the coming weeks due to the hurricane and the upcoming holiday weekend,” Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson, said in the release.
In South Carolina, the state saw a 7 cent increase overnight, with a current statewide average of $2.26. The average national gas price is $2.45, the highest recorded price for a gallon of gas so far this year, the report states.
Due to refinery and pipeline shutdowns in Texas, a high demand for gas over Labor Day weekend and limited access to supply levels in the Gulf of Mexico, prices are expected to continue to rise. The problems will also cause fuel supply deliveries to the Southeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic to be limited.
Currently the Department of Energy reported that 10 Gulf Coast refineries are closed. Of them, six have started assessing damage, which could take several days, the report states. Two refineries are operating at reduced rates.
“The good news is that in addition to having full inventories of gasoline, the Northeast refiners are stepping in and sending supplies to the Carolinas to help lessen the lack of supply from Gulf Coast refineries and pipelines shut down due to Harvey,” Wright said. “What we are seeing is a reshuffling of distribution behind the scenes to prevent shortages.”
The Department of Energy has also released 500,000 barrels of oil from the nation’s reserve of crude oil.
According to the report, many major pipelines are operating at reduced rates, have shut down or are planning on shutting down due to lack of supply.
“The pipeline temporarily suspending supply does not mean shortages,” Wright said. “Gasoline inventories are at historically high levels and there is an abundant supply of fuel across the United States to meet demands at this time.”