Harvey flooding shuts down oil refineries, pushing up gas prices


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Drivers will pay more at South Carolina gas pumps and across the United States through Labor Day due to Hurricane Harvey.Oil refineries that surround Houston and the Texas coast have been knocked off-line by the storm, and the damage is hurting more than 30% of the country’s fuel deliveries.Less gasoline coming out of the Gulf means higher prices at the pump.Since Friday, the average cost of gasoline is up 10 cents gallon, with a national average of $2.45 per gallon, according to AAA, the highest of the year. Whether gas prices go up further is dependent on how long the refineries are shut down and if there is long -term damage.“This is going to be a temporary disruption and not necessarily a permanent disruption,” said Dr. Calvin Blackwell, a professor of economics at the College of Charleston. “Once the water recedes, those refineries may take a couple days to get back online.”Harvey’s effect on Texas refineries is expected to ease in coming days, once the flooding subsides and workers return.Right now, gas averages $2.27 per gallon in South Carolina, and is 13 cents higher than normal for drivers filling-up on unleaded fuel in the state, AAA reports.“We may be looking at a 10 percent or maybe 15 percent increase, but I don’t expect that to last for a very long time. Maybe a week or maybe a month, but it seems unlikely to be a price change that will persist for some time,” said Blackwell.Even with gas prices spiking here in South Carolina, the state still ranks as one the top 10 least expensive markets in the nation.

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