Just six days after Harvey slammed into the heart of the US energy industry in Texas, the effects are being felt not just in Houston, but also in Chicago and NY, and prices at the pump nationwide have hit a high for the year.
Average U.S. retail fuel prices have surged by more than a dime per gallon from a week ago, the American Automobile Association (AAA) said early on Thursday, reaching $2.449 per gallon nationwide.
As of Sunday, nine refineries in Texas that supply Colonial with gas were closed because of Harvey, the U.S. Department of Energy said. Running from the Houston area to NY harbor, it includes more than 5,500 miles of pipeline, most of it underground, and provides almost 40 percent of the South’s gasoline. Line 2 transports mostly diesel and aviation fuels.
Traders have tentatively booked this week almost 40 tankers – the equivalent of about 1.5 million tonnes of gasoline – out of Europe to carry gasoline on the transatlantic route, including to destinations such as New York, Mexico and Brazil, according to shipping data and traders. Gas prices in Athens ranged Thursday from $2.09-per-gallon to $2.19-per-gallon, according to gasbuddy.com.
“Along with other fuel outlets in the area, RaceTrac is working to mitigate any supply issues and minimize the disruption caused by the effects of Hurricane Harvey”, the statement said.
The emergency waivers remove “requirements for reformulated gasoline and low volatility gasoline”, according to the EPA.
Drivers lined up at gas pumps in parts of Texas Thursday as more stations ran out of gas and prices rose steeply in response to Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Gulf Coast refineries. “When you have a situation like this, the problems go all up and down the pipeline”, Cooper said.
Fuel typically costs him about $25 a day at the most, he said, concerned the storm could eat into his profits.
Some residents have also reported instances of price gouging at the pumps.
Line 1 provides almost 40 percent of the South’s gasoline. The premium for Chicago-area gasoline above benchmark futures is at the highest since June 2016, while the Gulf Coast price is at its widest above futures since August 2012.
The company says it expects to resume service on its Houston crude oil distribution system over the weekend.
In Dallas, lines of cars a block long were common for the few gas stations that had gasoline to sell Thursday. European refiners are prepared to send an “armada of products” toward the East Coast, said Robert McNally, president of the Rapidan Group.
While suppliers of gasoline stations from Georgia northward might have reason to be concerned, the Sunshine State has one key advantage: It’s not winter yet.
“I think it’s a possibility, especially if we can’t get these refineries back online”, Flynn said during an interview on “Mornings with Maria”, adding that Colonial’s supply is “not going to be easily replaced”.
Jason Culp, a financial planner who lives in Marietta, spoke about the price increases as he filled up his Audi at an area QuikTrip.