Hurricane Harvey is still wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast, nearly a week after initial landfall in Texas last Friday.
If you're traveling over the Labor Day weekend, you might want to stop and fill up your gas tank before prices rise any higher. The SPR, established in the 1970s, now contains 679 million barrels of oil. The average highest price recorded at the pump was $2.42 per gallon in March. Average gas prices in Topeka are at $2.28, up eight cents in the past week, according to AAA Kansas.
But on Thursday, gas prices reached their highest level in more than a year and kept on climbing Friday.
"Northeast refiners are stepping in and barging supplies to the U.S. Southeast, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America to offset the lack of supply from Gulf Coast refineries and pipelines shut down due to Harvey", Carrasco added.
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Texas Railroad Commission Chair Christi Craddick acknowledged that there may be logistical issues in some areas, getting the gasoline from fuel terminals to service stations due to transportation challenges resulting from Harvey. Combined with the already shut down plants, 18.1 percent of the country's capacity to refine oil is affected. Collectively, those 11 plants represent 12.6 percent of the total US capacity for refineries.
With supplies growing tight, the Department of Energy announced it was taking 1,000,000 barrels of crude oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to send to a Phillips 66 refinery in Lake Charles on an emergency basis.
Many companies, like Chevron, have been forced to raises gas prices because Hurricane Harvey shut down a major fuel pipeline.
Global benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 traded at $50.86 a barrel after falling more than 2% in the previous day, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 stood at $46.12 per barrel to drop by 1% on the previous day, reported Reuters.