Refinery shutdown causes gas prices to rocket

Gas around the country has experienced a shortage due to Hurricane Harvey shutting down many refineries in the Gulf coast area. The storm has caused approximately a third of the nation’s overall refinery capacity to go offline as floodwaters continue to prevent operators from getting back to work. Over the weekend pumps were offline at many local gas stations as the nation pivots to provide gasoline for citizens without the use of these refineries. The shortage has caused gasoline prices to rise a total of ten cents nationwide – putting prices at the highest they have been all year.

In response to the shortages the Department of Energy began releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves on Thursday. First only a million barrels were to be pulled out, then 5 million on Friday, and over the weekend the amount has increased to many times that. States across the country worry that without a third of our normal refining capacity gas shortages are just over the horizon for them as well. Oil from the reserves is planned to be distributed across 25 different states that have been identified as vulnerable to these gas shortages.

Consequences of the storm may soon even spread worldwide as Houston’s port has been closed to large vessels for nearly a week now, causing a large group of ships to anchor near the coast of the Gulf while waiting for port repairs. The former president of Shell oil company offered his own advice on the situation, saying “Best case: the refinery should be up and operating again for the most part by the middle of September. Worst case: some of those refineries — if they’re really seriously damaged — they could be down through Thanksgiving or longer,”. Hopefully refineries will be operational sooner rather than later, as citizens all over the nation are feeling the pinch of higher gas prices once again.

Written by: Chris Stomberg

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