CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Thanks to Hurricane Harvey hitting right in the heart of the American oil and gas industry, drivers in the Carolinas could soon feel the storm’s impact at the gas station.
Harvey slammed the Gulf Coast over the weekend, forcing the shutdown of some of Texas’ biggest oil refineries.
“You have about 20 percent of the capability of gasoline production by refineries that are already shut in,” said QuikTrip spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh, who explained that it’s actually even more complicated than that.
Not only are the refineries offline, but many of the pipelines are completely underwater, making it difficult for crews to assess the situation.
“They can’t even get in to check in on the pipelines or the refineries to see how bad the damage is. Until the water goes away, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon, the industry really doesn’t know the extent of the damage,” Thornbrugh.
One thing is for sure, though. Prices at the pump are already increasing.
“I was sad I needed gas today and didn’t get it three days ago when it was cheaper,” said one driver.
“It just seems like it went from $2.09 or $2.10 to $2.30-plus,” said another driver.
While experts assure drivers there is plenty of supply, they are warning that the prices will continue to surge, especially with Labor Day weekend right around the corner.
“I think it’s gone up roughly about 15-18 cents on the wholesale market in the last 24-48 hours,” Thornbrugh said.
“It’s a necessity, we all need to have the gas, but you understand why it’s like it is because of the supply,” said one person.