Hurricane Harvey leads to increased retail gasoline prices

Published on September 08, 2017 by Kevin Randolph

Supply disruptions and refinery outages caused by Hurricane Harvey contributed to average U.S. retail gasoline prices increasing by 28 cents to $2.68 per gallon during the week leading up to Monday, Sept. 4.

Gasoline prices in the Lower Atlantic region increased by 41 cents/gal from last week, more than in any
other region. Prices rose in the Central Atlantic and New England regions by 37 cents/gal and 36 cents/gal, respectively, from last week.

The Gulf Coast saw gasoline prices increase by 35 cents/gal since last week. In Texas and Florida prices
were up 40 cents/gal. In Houston, Miami, New York City, and Boston, they were up at least 35 cents/gal.

The impact of Hurricane Harvey on gas prices is similar to that of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Gasoline
spot prices increased by almost 30 percent within one trading day after Hurricane Katrina and within three after Hurricane Rita.

Harvey’s impact on gasoline prices was more gradual than the impact of Katrina and Rita because refineries in Houston, Texas, and Port Arthur, Texas, began shutting down in the days following the hurricane’s landfall near Corpus Christi. Because of this, gasoline prices increased steadily for four trading days before starting to decline.

Several refineries impacted by Harvey have restarted, some are operating at reduced rates and some remain shut down. Colonial Pipeline, which transports petroleum products from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast, restarted its Line One and Line Two pipelines early this week.