Hurricane Harvey causes gas prices to spike

Hurricane Harvey causes gas prices to spike

"Consumers will see a short-term spike in the coming weeks with gas prices likely topping $2.50 a gallon, but then quickly dropping by mid-to-late September", said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokeswoman, in a news release.

In Brazil, state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA has hiked gasoline and diesel prices twice for September to match spikes in US prices caused by Harvey.

Gas prices are not only higher than this time last year, they're higher than they've been all year, according to travel experts at the AAA in Chicago.

"Deliveries will be intermittent and dependent on terminal and refinery supply", it said.

The association survey says USA gasoline prices Thursday averaged $2.45 per gallon - that's 10 cents higher than a week ago and a nickel increase since Wednesday.

Lines of vehicles are winding around fuel stations across Texas amid concern that Harvey's floodwaters will spawn gasoline shortages in the days and weeks to come.

Gasoline prices hit fresh 2-year highs on Thursday as flooding from tropical storm Harvey knocked out nearly a quarter of US refineries, while crude oil prices fell again on the resulting drop in demand.

As of Thursday, some 15 refineries representing about 25 percent of US refining capacity were offline from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Port Arthur, Texas, the Energy Department reported. Officials said the refinery, which hasn't been shutdown by the historic flooding, requested the release of emergency oil.

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The Phillips 66 refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, will receive crude from the strategic reserve as part of an agreement requiring the company to replace the oil once supplies are flowing again.

Major fuel arteries, including Colonial Pipeline, are struggling to find enough fuel to supply the Eastern Seaboard because of supply disruptions from Harvey, which has also taken at least 46 lives and damaged 100,000 homes.

Prices have increased by 29 cents per gallon in the past week and 12 cents overnight in Georgia - bringing the state's average to $2.50.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was down 25 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $46.98 barrel at 0028 GMT.

Refinery, pipeline and logistical problems on the Gulf Coast are expected to squeeze fuel supply delivery volumes to the Southeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.

On Monday, the Port of Corpus Christi Authority said it had restored power to several facilities and was working to return to normal operations next week.

AAA hasn't changed that policy this year, but it is tracking another statistic closely at the moment-gas prices. At three gas stations in north Dallas, yellow bags or caution tape was wrapped around pumps just after noon.