Gas prices may rise because of Harvey
COLUMBIA - Drivers may have to pay more for gas in the coming days because of Hurricane Harvey. The storm was downgraded to a tropical storm Saturday afternoon.
Patrick DeHaan, a petroleum analyst for Gasbuddy.com, said it appears the storm could cause the national average to rise by 5 to 15 cents per gallon.
"I'm much more leery as of what next week will bring when we start to see some of the damage that the hurricane could bring," he said.
DeHaan said there are over a dozen oil refineries in Houston and five in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Nearly one-third of the nation's refining capacity is between Corpus Christi, Texas, and Lake Charles, Louisiana, according to The Associated Press.
If there is damage to refineries, consumers should expect gas prices to rise, DeHaan said.
"We rely on these refineries, and if there is major damage to them, it's going to mean less gasoline supply available and higher prices," he said.
Analysts will have a better idea of the storm's impact on prices when energy markets open Monday.
"The more drastic Monday ends up being, the quicker the impact could be," he said. However, he said it was too early to tell what the exact impact would be.
According to AAA, gas prices in the Columbia area have risen approximately 10 cents over the past month.
Looking ahead toward the Labor Day weekend, DeHaan said it's too early to tell exactly what the impact on prices will be on top of the tropical storm.
"In the grand scheme of things, yes, Labor Day sees very intense demand. And if you couple it with some refinery outages, it's a recipe for higher prices," he said.