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Business, Energy, STEM

Two Hurricanes Are “Putting the Squeeze” on U.S. Gas Prices

As an update to my last post, Gas Prices Spike-up As We Near The End Of 2017 Summer Driving Season, the cost of petrol in these United States is becoming more interesting each day. About two weeks ago, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, TX on Saturday morning, August 26, 2017, around 3 a.m. After one week of record breaking rainfall along the Gulf Coast, residents in the Houston, TX and surrounding areas found themselves knee, waist and possible head and shoulders deep in flood waters.

As the flood waters recede, and the State of Texas grapples with cleaning up tons and tons of debris, another Category 5 storm, Hurricane Irma, is barreling towards the Florida coastline as I type. Media outlets are reporting that some service stations have run out of gas and others were limiting the amount of fuel that one could pump. State officials appear to be in front of the problem and are expecting a barge of gasoline from a Texas refinery under police escort. Add to that a number of gas tankers in route to service stations are also being escorted by police, and some of the workers of local service stations in the Miami area are being given rides to work. That’s just how important it is to make sure that those residents who want to evacuate have gas in their tanks and can leave the area.

So-o-o, I thought I was going to say in this post, “Hurricane Harvey is no longer a threat, refineries in Texas are coming back on-line and one should expect to see gas prices head south in a matter of days.” And I would have said that before the path of Hurricane Irma became more exact.

The folks at Accuweather predict that after blasting the northern Caribbean, deadly Hurricane Irma will turn toward the United States, unleashing destructive winds, flooding rain and dangerous seas across Florida starting on this coming Saturday, September 9, 2017. “Unfortunately, there is no way the United States is going to avoid another catastrophic weather event,” Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather said. “There will be massive damage in Florida. [It will be] the worst single hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.” [Ref 1]

Evacuation orders are multiplying across Florida as local officials try to get the most vulnerable populations to move to safety ahead of Hurricane Irma. Accuweather predicts that Hurricane Irma will most severely impact the eastern side of the State of Florida, including Miami, West Palm Beach, Melbourne, Daytona Beach and Jacksonville. Tropical-storm-force conditions could be felt as far west as Tampa and Key West.

So where are those precious gas prices today? Fuel Insights Data from GasBuddy.com show the following at 5:35 p.m. EDT:

$2.676    Today, 09.07.2017

$2.672     Yesterday

$2.512     Last Week

$2.35       Last Month

$2.191     Last Year

Please note that today’s current average of $2.676 per gallon is 32.7 cents higher than one month ago. Needless to say, I don’t expect gas prices to drop until after Hurricane Irma has cleared the region, however, the current average could go higher. And note, we all will be paying more at the pump, and not just the residents in the southeastern United States.

Let’s take another look at similar data over the last 30 days. The Price Chart (Source: GasBuddy.com) below shows a steady rise in gas prices beginning around August 21, 2017. Initially, a small increase in prices were expected and that should have coincided with the Labor Day Weekend and those folks getting in their last vacation of the summer. Storm clouds have gathered and strong winds definitely have blown for one hurricane. Regrettably, a repeat of the last two weeks appears to be ominous with Hurricane Irma nears the southernmost point of the State of Florida.

1-month-avg-retail-gas-chart_08-09-to-09-07_GasBuddy

Residents in the southeastern United States are urged to take precautions and keep updated of changing weather forecasts.

Sources Cited:

  1. Major Hurricane Irma Likely to Strike Florida This Weekend, Georgia to Carolinas on Alert for Impacts, by Renee Duff, meterologist for AccuWeather, September 7, 2017, https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/major-hurricane-irma-likely-to-strike-florida-this-weekend-georgia-to-carolinas-on-alert-for-impacts/70002657

Last Updated, Friday, September 8, 2017

 

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About Vi Brown

Vi is principal and CEO of Prophecy Consulting Group, LLC, an Arizona firm that provides business and engineering services to private and public clients. Prior to establishing her consulting practice in 2001, Vi worked with Motorola, Maricopa County Government, Pacific Gas & Electric, CH2M Hill, and Procter & Gamble. As an adjunct faculty member, Vi teaches undergraduate calculus classes and graduate level environmental courses. She is also a professional speaker.

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