Harvey and Irma.
The names sound harmless, but they’ve done tremendous damage, with more on the way.
Hurricane Harvey landed near Houston, Texas, as a category 4 hurricane and brought more than 50 inches of rain, shutting down Gulf Coast oil production. Now, Irma is spinning in the Atlantic Ocean as a category 5 hurricane and it seems to be taking aim at Florida.
"Thanks to Harvey shutting down an extensive amount of refining capacity, the national average gasoline price saw its largest weekly jump since Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005 when the national average jumped 49 cents in a week," said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. "Every state has seen average gas prices rise, Texas saw shortages at hundreds of stations — its been one of the most challenging weeks faced in years."
Gasoline prices in Dodge City climbed quickly, with Dillons, Love’s and Murphy USA hitting $2.39 after each being near $2.10 to start last week.
It may not change any time soon.
"Until Texas can recover from Harvey, gasoline prices will likely continue to remain elevated," said DeHaan. "The situation is beginning to look up, with many refineries either back online or in the process, and gasoline production is ramping back up."
While this is good news for many in Texas a lot of attention is now going to Hurricane Irma. The strong category 5 storm is expected to continue moving generally west, northwest.
"While it may be weeks or longer before all refineries are back online (in Texas), we now turn our attention to Hurricane Irma," DeHaan said. "With the Colonial Pipeline having shut down last week due to a lack of products, Florida and the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic may be a touch and go area for gasoline.
"Products are flowing to the region, but we’ll have to keep a close on the storm, as Irma’s path continues to be updated."
According to the National Weather Service, Irma is expected to be centered just southeast of Florida by Saturday morning and just southwest of Key West by Sunday morning. What few have discussed is what happens if Irma stays in the warm Gulf of Mexico waters and takes aim — again — at Texas and Louisiana?
Most forecasts suggest that won’t happen. According to a majority of forecasts, Irma will track between Cuba and Florida and take a right turn sometime on Sunday, moving to the north, northeast along Florida and up the east coast.
Meanwhile, several reports on Monday and Tuesday said that crude oil prices rose, but gasoline prices dropped as a result of refineries coming back online along the Texas Gulf Coast. Crude oil prices rose due to higher demand as the refineries get back on line.
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