Hurricane Harvey's impact on gas prices

08/31/2017 01:40 PM

Hurricane Harvey is causing Kentucky drivers to see an uptick in gas prices before Labor Day weekend as oil refineries in the Gulf Coast shut down due to the storm.

Business Insider reports that the largest oil refinery in the U.S. shut down on Wednesday due to increasing local flooding. The refinery had already decreased production by 60 percent on Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle.

AAA shows that the current average price per gallon for regular gas in Kentucky has risen $0.037 from Wednesday and is up $0.167 from last week. Kentucky is about $0.02 below the national average.

However, the director of global energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service, Tom Kloza, told CNN Money that prices are expected to quickly fall once Gulf Coast refineries begin operations again.

Richard Joswick, an analyst with S&P Global Platts, gave CBS News a similar assessment, telling them that prices will increase but likely only for one or two weeks.

At an event in Louisville on Thursday Attorney General Andy Beshear said that his office is very concerned with price gouging, but in order for his office to take action Gov. Matt Bevin must declare a state of emergency.

“We want everyone across Kentucky if they think an example of price gouging to call us,” Beshear said. “Now, before that law kicks in and before we can take action the governor would have to declare a state of emergency in Kentucky. That’s what activates the law, but we want to get those complaints so that we can provide him that information and he can make those decisions.”

Beshear did note that a rise in prices due to refineries closing is not price gouging.

Madeline Janicki

Madeline is a producer for Spectrum News. You can watch her work on Pure Politics, the only statewide nightly show dedicated solely to Kentucky Politics. Madeline is an Indiana native and received her degree in Communications from Indiana University. Her background is as a news producer but her passion for civic engagement and drive to bring voters information on issues that impact their lives brought her to Pure Politics. Here she gets to work on projects like her multi-part digital series on how the national group Teach For America is working in Eastern Kentucky Schools. If you have a story idea, email her at Madeline.Janicki@charter.com.

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