Since Hurricane Harvey first made landfall last Friday, it has dumped the largest amount of rain recorded for a single storm in the continental United States, devastating homes and businesses along the Texas coast. A week later, as the state deals with the continued threat of flooding, several Gulf Coast refineries are among the businesses still dealing with the fallout — and Florida drivers are feeling it at the pump.
In Miami alone, the average price of gas Friday was $2.54 compared to $2.32 a week ago, according to the American Automobile Association. In the same period of time, the average price for regular gas in the state rose nearly 20 cents to $2.49.
“Consumers should expect to see the highest Labor Day prices at the pump since 2014,” said AAA club spokesman Josh Carrasco in a release. “We expect the national average to top $2.50 per gallon.”
But prices should decline in a few weeks, given early reports that Corpus Christi and Houston refineries were not significantly damaged, he added.
“AAA does not expect Gulf refineries to be offline for months,” he said. “Once refineries are back to full operation, we should expect to see gas prices fall towards the end of September.”
Ten refineries along the Gulf Coast are still shut down, according to the Department of Energy, and several more are restarting or operating at reduced rates. Several major pipelines are also shut down or operating with reduced flows, according to the AAA.
Carrasco said the problems will continue to affect fuel delivery to the Southeast, Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions for a few weeks and that the EPA issued a waiver allowing 12 states, including Florida, to sell “winter blend” gasoline early to account for the shortage in supply.
Harvey, which stalled near Houston for days before moving east, remains a threat for heavy rains in portions of Louisiana and eastern Texas.