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Will Harvey Lift Gas Prices? Maybe, Say Experts

Houston oil refinery (Joe Raedle-Getty)
Houston oil refinery (Joe Raedle-Getty)

Despite significant shutdowns of refineries in Texas due to Hurricane Harvey, many experts say don’t expect gas prices to go through the roof. But they will definitely not drop.

Normally this time of year, say experts, summer vacation travel ends, creating a drop in demand. Prices fall, and even though there’s the Labor Day travel surge, they usually stay lower.

But with some 16 percent of total U.S. refining capacity offline in and around Houston, the Labor Day price drop will probably stay level, or go up slightly. USA Today reports prices (national average) rose a penny or two over the weekend.

A ‘modest’ rise is anticipated. But some experts claim the long-term effects will result in higher natural gas and other fuel prices this winter. The Oil Price Information Service says so far the damage caused by Harvey to infrastructure is not nearly as bad as Katrina, so the oil industry has not sustained serious damage.

However, if the rain and flooding continue, gas prices will most certainly continue to rise, although not skyrocket. Locally, Gas Buddy reports prices in Kennewick starting at $2.65 then a string of other outlets at $2.71.  Pasco was at $2.71 to $2.73 and Richland $2.65, $2.67 and up.

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