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Ida expected to cause spike in gas prices

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 6:18 AM EDT
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TAMPA, Fla. (WWSB) - Florida drivers could soon see a big spike in gas prices, thanks to Hurricane Ida, the AAA predicts.

“Drivers will almost assuredly see gas prices rise this week, because of Hurricane Ida’s effects on the Gulf Coast,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA - The Auto Club Group. “Based on overnight movement in the futures market, a 10- to 20-cent jump at the pump is not out of the question,” he said in a news release.

“Where gas prices go from here will depend on the extent of the damage and how long it will take for fuel production and transportation lines to return to normal.”

Hurricanes don’t always cause gas prices to rise, but when a major storm moves into the Gulf Coast, that’s another story.

Refineries in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama account for more than 45% of the nation’s capacity for refining crude oil into gasoline and other important products.

Nine refineries were in Ida’s path -- 24% of Gulf Coast refining capacity; 13% of capacity nationwide. Four refineries safely shut down before the storm. Another one reduced operations.

More than 90% of offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were shut down and evacuated before the storm. That amounts to 15% of U.S. production.

The Colonial Pipeline, which carries diesel and gasoline from Texas to states along the eastern seaboard, was shut down on Sunday as a precaution.

Florida officials are reportedly filing for a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency to begin selling winter blend gasoline now. The EPA normally restricts retailers from selling winter gasoline until Sept. 15. However, if allowed, this would enable retailers to bring in both summer and winter gasoline, increasing access to gasoline at a time when supplies could tighten.

In Florida, the mMost expensive metro markets are West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($3.12), Panama City ($3.07), Tallahassee ($3.05).

The least expensive markets are Punta Gorda ($2.80), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater ($2.87), Orlando ($2.88)

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