The American Automobile Association says gas prices in Oklahoma will likely increase temporarily this week as a result of Hurricane Ida.
The storm has left more than one million people in Louisiana and Mississippi without power and likely taken about 13% of U.S. refining capacity offline. There were nine oil refineries in Ida’s path; at least four were believed to have shut down operations ahead of the storm reported AAA on Monday.
As of Monday, Oklahomans were paying an average of $2.86 a gallon, the tenth lowest price in the nation and a cent lower than last week. The national gas price average decreased by two cents as of Sunday, the cheapest price since early July, but was back up a penny to $3.15 Monday morning in response to the hurricane’s impact.
“Until the power is restored, it’s too early to know the full impact of any damage Ida caused on the oil and gas industry, but motorists regionally can expect price fluctuations leading into Labor Day weekend,” said Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson. “Typically, a category 4 storm could mean three plus weeks before refineries are back to normal operations, while offshore production is more likely to resume this week.”
As a precautionary measure, Colonial Pipeline announced on Sunday that it had shut down two main lines that run from Houston, TX, to Greensboro, NC. The company added that following an infrastructure inspection after the storm, the pipeline would be back to full service. Gas prices nationally, especially in the southeast and east coast, will see minimal impact at the pump if the pipeline is down for a matter of hours versus days.
Since Friday, Louisiana’s gas price average increased from $2.81 to $2.83. The increase is expected as a storm like this can cause an increase in demand, due to panic buying, leading up to the storm. However, we are likely to see a dramatic reduction in demand post-hurricane as people stay home due to power outages and road closures.
Source: AAA Press release