Hurricanes Create Pain at the Pump

Fuel Prices Aug17

Fuel prices are climbing by leaps and bounds across the country, due in large part to the huge disruption in the supply chain in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and you can bet Hurricane Irma won't help things. As of Thursday, the national average was $2.67 according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

According to, gas and diesel fuel prices are increasing across the county, with California ($3.14), Hawaii ($3.10) and Washington ($3.04) as the most expensive states for fuel.

The process of getting Texas oil refineries back online has already begun, but it will be slow going and likely to take several months to get all the refineries into production. graphic by Paul Dolan




I can't wait to see the remarks from PUTC commenters about this.

It use to be that gas in Hawaii cost more than California. At least when I was there in the early 2000s it did.

this is why you should buy a Ford, better fuel economy, less time at the pump.

It use to be that gas in Hawaii cost more than California. At least when I was there in the early 2000s it did. Posted by: Red | Sep 8, 2017


Gas prices are high in CA and the rest of the left coast because taxes are so high. Storms should not be affecting pump prices there (yet?).

Availability has been disrupted by the Harvey and Irma storms here in the east. Sanity will resume regarding prices once the effects of the weather are more manageable.

Gas stations around my area jack the price up when they have gas, then when they run out they advertise the price about .30-.50 lower even though they don't have any gas. Then when the truck comes they jack it up again. They've been doing this for about 2 weeks now.

This is unfortunate, however, those of us driving the most fuel efficient V8 engines (GM ) can keep some more money in our pockets. That and not having to replace timing chains and guides, turbos, EGR coolers, cracked cylinder heads, blown head gaskets, failed front and rear diffs, water contaminated throttle bodies, failed cam phasers, blown out spark plugs, broken water pumps. etc. Well you get the picture. Poor Ford owners.

Texas has a lot of refineries along the Gulf of Mexico which are shut down because of Harvey and with Florida there is less product available. Doesn't take much to disrupt the gasoline and diesel supply since there are fewer refineries than in the past. The US has not built a major refinery in over 40 years and when a refinery is shut down because of a storm, maintenance, or because it is obsolete then it will effect fuel prices. Oil has to be refined first before it can be used.

this is why you should buy a Ford, better fuel economy, less time at the pump.
Posted by: Nitro | Sep 8, 2017 2:34:39 PM

Well I normally disagree with you, but you're right this time. When you drive a Ford, you can count on saving fuel every time it has to get towed in for repairs. Plus when your Ecobust blows, you save fuel by bumming rides from friends with reliable Ram trucks while you wait for a new shortblock.

Democrats on my state keep proposing more and more gas taxes. Taxing the working class more than anything. Seems crazy people are voting for these folks.

@papajim: "Gas prices are high in CA and the rest of the left coast because taxes are so high. Storms should not be affecting pump prices there (yet?). Availability has been disrupted by the Harvey and Irma storms here in the east. Sanity will resume regarding prices once the effects of the weather are more manageable."
---- Posted by: papajim | Sep 8, 2017 3:05:44 PM

We'll just have to wait and see then. Where I live hasn't been directly affected by either storm but fuel prices are up by 40¢ nonetheless. Wonder how long it will take for them to drop back to $2.19?

Gas prices are $2.79 a gallon for regular around me. The cheapest is Cosco at $2.65 a gallon for regular. I wouldn't say that gas prices are cheap but they are cheaper than they were a few years ago. The cheapest this year around me has been $2.19 but that was in late Winter. I guess it depends on where you live and relative to what the prices were a few years ago. I don't see that gasoline or diesel will go down until after the hurricane season is over and the Gulf coast refineries are back up. It takes a while to bring the refineries back up--not like flipping a light switch.

@Jeff S

The domestically sourced retail gas we buy at the pump is most affected by federal, state, local taxes, and then by push/pull in the futures markets.

Presently, there is a lot of uncertainty about wholesale availability from week to week, but the guys who place orders for 90 days out are confident that they'll be able to get contracts for "delivered" fuel on dates in late November and December.

What they cannot know right now is if the price will be too high for them to make money. The gas is available, but the price is a big question mark. If they don't get their chip on the table they might end up with empty tankers and unhappy customers.

Their risk is huge. If they commit to prices that are too high in September, they'll be screwed in December. If they're off by only a few cents it can bankrupt 'em.

It is not about refining capacity in the short term (due to Harvey). Refiners in Venezuela and Mexico are going full blast. Refiners in the US northeast, ditto. Many of the refiners impacted by Harvey will soon be back on line. The former CEO of Exxon said that, not me.

The prices we're seeing now are short term. The biggest threat to cheap gas in the long run is the weaker dollar. Since early summer the dollar has lost buying power in foreign markets and that can have a big impact on crude prices for OPEC products.

Time will tell.

True about the uncertainty but a lot of refined products from the Texas refineries are distributed in multiple states. Refinery capacity does effect price. Refineries in Mexico are reliable but Venezuela is not that stable. It could still take months to get things back to normal--yes probably by December. I doubt the price will go up that much in the short term but it is not going to go down as fast as it goes up regardless of importing finished product. Kroger and Cosco have kept the prices competitive where I live. Kroger has a fuel points reward that allows you to use up to a $1 a gallon of earned points for any one fill up. We have a Kroger Marketplace a few miles from where I live with self service gas and diesel (even offers E-85). It is always busy along with Cosco. Super America is usually the first to raise fuel prices and the others follow.

@Jeff S

Check out the gas prices in Missouri, Alabama and Mississippi. Lowest prices I've seen in years. There are some good websites for tracking this stuff.

Agree with Papa Jim..

Ine caveat about the article. It does NOT take MONTHS to get Refineries back online. A week, two at most.

Evan at 2.67 gas is still pretty cheap.

Nobel idea, move refineries away from hurricane zones!

Pipelines can do wonders...

This looks self inflicted here. Texas has plenty of gas in reserve for emergency's. Shortages were caused by a run on the pumps. The same panic that causes bank's to crash.

My gas app says there is a station selling $1.87 reg. in N. Austin proper 17 hrs ago. This could be a stunt like said here;
"No gas but it's cheap!"
Or the other popular catch:
"Lower priced gas, but you have to buy $15 of grab-n-go store crap first''

We're in Oceanside, CA (a San Diego suburb) and unleaded regular is 2.81. Maybe that 3.14 for California is an average or somewhere else in the state.

Here in Kansas we have a refinery that buys local oil and sells the gas to all the supplier, but they still raise the prices even though we are self sufficient.

gas is $2.34 here and Missouri

Here in Kansas we have a refinery that buys local oil and sells the gas to all the supplier, but they still raise the prices even though we are self sufficient.

gas is $2.34 here and Missouri

Gas where I live had been $2.39 a gallon just before Harvey, now it is $2.79. Some of the price increase is probably due to using Harvey as an excuse to raise prices. Usually problems in the Middle East are used as excuse to raise prices. Quick to raise prices and slow to lower them. Oil companies as any other company is going to maximize profits and if they can charge more they will until one of them lowers their prices. Even if the refineries all are back in operation in a couple of weeks the prices will not go down immediately--maybe not a long time but the prices will not go down instantly. Even at $2.79 a gallon gas is reasonable. I don't drive as much as I have in the past so the price would have to go up a lot more before I would cut down on my driving. Maybe $4 a gallon or above would get me to conserve more. All my vehicles are fairly efficient. Sure I would like the price to be less but it is not that big of a deal.

@Papa Jim--You lose. The only way to respond to you is in the negative since that is what you bring to the comment section. You have not really convinced anyone to buy what you want them to buy. If anything you have convinced me not to buy another GM or Chevrolet which I have owned for over 40 years because I don't want to own anything that is owned by a jackass like you.

Posted by: Jeff S | Aug 25, 2017 3:26:38 PM

Just a FYI. I've been paying $1.32/L for months now.
How bad do you have it?
That's 5 bucks a US gallon.
I haven't seen gas cheaper than a buck a litre for years.

@Jeff S

Please spare me the Oil Cartel crap. So 1970s!

@papa jim--Not oil cartel, market place. Oil companies are not in the business to provide you cheap gas, they are in the business to make money and they make money by maximizing profits. Maybe since you were originally from Missouri you expect that it is your right to cheap energy. Working in the energy industry for years there is a lot of cost to drill and produce oil before it gets refined. The oil industry is not a nonprofit organization. You look at just the oil traders only but the traders are just part of the equation. Can you think of one instance where the price of gasoline has ever been lowered due to crisis in the Middle East or a natural disaster such as a hurricane? I cannot. Also just because we produce more oil domestically doesn't mean that we still don't use Middle East oil. Any global interruption in supply will cause an increase in price. You only look at domestic supply and never consider global supply. Until we completely become self sufficient and remove ourselves from all global trade we will always be affected by global events. I don't see that ever happening. Fox news doesn't look at that.

@papa jim--The trouble with being a know-it-all is that you really don't know everything. Have you ever worked in the oil business? Maybe you know something about the auto industry because your family worked in it but that doesn't mean you know everything. I worked for years in the industry-- drilling, production, and refining. There is a lot more to oil than just trading it. There are different qualities of oil such as sweet crude (lower sulfur) and heavy crude (high sulfur) and depending on the quality the price will vary. Heavy crude will sell for less because less product can be produced from it and there are fewer refineries that can refine it.

@Jeff S

You just finished ranting for a (very) full paragraph and THEN you accuse me of being a know-it-all. LOL

Think before you press the button. I recited the facts. You don't like the facts. You seem to think that the oil companies operate in some kind of bubble immune from the realities of running a commodities business.

You are mistaken.

@papa jim--So is what you are saying is that the price of oil is just dependent upon oil traders? Will producers continue to produce oil when their cost exceeds their return? You are a know-it-all. What experience do you have in the oil industry? Please provide specific experience.

@papa jim--You are very simplistic in your views. Everything is black and white. Very narrow. Have your gas prices gone done in Florida lately?

@papa jim--Ok, I will give you that the price of oil is determined by oil traders, but are you saying that the oil producers are going to not adjust production due to how much profit they make? Will oil producers not adjust production if they are taking losses. You only look at the commodities end and not at the industry. Can you specifically give me one example where gasoline and diesel prices have been lowered due to a natural disaster or an international conflict? Would commodity traders not consider those factors as well? Can you give me your specific experience in the oil and gas industry?

@Jeff S

Ask your physician if Valium is right for you.

Before you take Valium, tell your doctor if you have seizures, or a history of mental illness, depression, or suicidal thoughts.

You should not use Valium if you are allergic to diazepam or similar medicines (Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Xanax, and others), or if you have myasthenia gravis, severe liver disease, narrow-angle glaucoma, a severe breathing problem, or sleep apnea.

@papa jim--You are a jackass.

@papa jim--You are a jackass.

@Jeff S

Striking out at others, name-calling, especially toward your friends is a sure sign of trouble. Get help

@papa jim--You are no friend of mine. As for help you are the one that needs that. You are always looking for an argument and are always looking for how to put others down.

I have Glaucoma. I'm glad it's not narrow angle because that sounds like a sharp stick in the eye!

PJim; It looks like you copied that off the insert.
Do those belong to your bride?

I paid $1.99 two weeks ago before Harvey's landfall (& gas lines).
Yesterday I paid $2.38, which is about the .30 -.35 rise they predicted.

You are always looking for an argument and are always looking for how to put others down.

@Jeff S

You must be a real riot around the house, because you assume that EVERY disagreement about the facts is PERSONAL.


How's the old moonshiner doing?

Why buy gas? I thought you had enough homebrew to run your truck.

@Stevedor--Don't expect papa jim to admit that the price of gasoline went up especially if it is due to a hurricane. $2.38 is still a good price but a 30 to 35 cent increase is still an increase and rationalizing will not make it go down.

OK - to get back on the subject; you lucky gents live in the good 'ol USA probably don't appreciate the low prices you pay at the pump :-)...I know, it's all relative & pending on exchange rate EUR vs USD.

I currently pay at the pump approx. $6.50 p/US gallon and this was a decline from where it was hovering around $7.00 USD p/g (all shipped from Aussie land).

The only savior is we don't need to drive far for anything & only approx. 72 miles around the island. So I usually fill up my trucks a couple times a month (approx. $100 USD each).

And if it keeps going up cue the crash in truck sales followed by the massive incentives followed by the lay offs, and the orphanage of Chrysler (Fiat will drop its little step toy like a hot potato once ram and jeep stop making money). GM will need another handout and Ford may do the same. All because none of them invested in a 10 year strategy to be market leaders in small and midsized cars... It happens about once every 15ish years.

P.Jim; No need when it's been under $2 for some time. It may take a while to get back under 2 but it's still affordable.
Hurricane season isn't over yet...stand by.

Glad I have a 38 gallon tank, I can go 2-3 weeks between refueling. Don't miss that 26 gallon tank one bit.

I doubt it will go up anymore unless there is another hurricane. Once the hurricane season is over then you will see fuel prices go down.

@Lionel--Agree the US fuel prices are a bargain compared to what you are paying and that is even when you consider California.

@Jeff S; yep & I'm sure many don't appreciate it - in fact got a surprise on my last visit to CAL in Jul where $40-$50 filled up different trucks I had rented (RAM 1500, F150 & a Nissan)

@Papajim: "The prices we're seeing now are short term."

Let's see if you're right. So far gas prices are still rising marginally, up to $2.65/gal for regular and over $3/gal for premium. Diesel's holding steady at Regular gas prices. So clearly there is an increase for now of about 56¢. I wonder how long it will take to fall back to the old price?

Oh, and for us the price didn't rise UNTIL Harvey, so the argument about 'late spring' only affected your area, if at all.


PUTC's web software just gobbled my reply.

Well it's been 2 months since the fuss about gas prices.

Hurricane Irma is a thing of the past. Gas prices are back to normal here in Florida. We have a holiday weekend and record high travel this week. Gas is still cheap.

All of the silly remarks about oil cartels sounded like rubbish in September, now they sound like stale rubbish.

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

@papa jim--Gas prices are going up for Thanksgiving. I saw a 5 cent jump last night. Also, my crystal ball also says gas prices will skyrocket in 2018. Don't count your chickens before they hatch.


Thanksgiving travel: gas prices at three-year high
by WRGB Staff
Tuesday, November 21st 2017

Thanksgiving travel: gas prices at three-year high

CAPITAL REGION (WRGB) - According to a spokesperson at Gas Buddy, gas prices are at a three-year high ahead of the busy holiday travel season.

Gas Buddy says in the Capital Region, gas prices are up about 35 cents per gallon, compared to this time last year. Gas costs an average of $2.60 per gallon compared to $2.25 a gallon last year.

Gas Buddy says this year is unique. Normally prices fall between November and February, when pumps switch to winter-blend gas. But this year, prices are up across the country. Gas Buddy says this is because oil prices have increased, and because of the gasoline shortage after the recent hurricanes.

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