by Cindy Pena
Gas prices in Connecticut have increased about 26 cents in just a week to the average $2.88 per gallon, ever since Hurricane Harvey struck Houston, Texas, according to the American Automobile Association.
The national average cost of gas is about $2.66 per gallon and has increased 27 cents in a week.
These numbers are expected to change as prices increase overnight. Although the hurricane has been reduced from a Category 3 Hurricane to a Tropical Depression, it will take time until gas prices go back to normal.
“Just how high gas prices might go depends on how long the disruption lasts, but AAA analysts expect it to be short-term, days or weeks, not months,” AAA spokesperson, Amy Parmenter, said in a statement.
The Colonial Pipeline, one of the biggest fuel transporters that operates from Texas to New York, remains shut down because of damages and not being able to transport fuel as refineries remain closed.
AAA stated that the disruption of the refineries and fuel supply makes it harder to transport fuel due to equipment and drivers. Despite the lack of supply, the demands for fuel for Connecticut residents remain high.
“Connecticut does not get its gas supply from Texas, but there’s a ripple effect. So for instance, if Texas typically supplies gasoline to Florida and now, Florida can’t get its gasoline from Texas, then Florida needs to get its gasoline from the Northeast, thus affecting our supply here in Connecticut,” said Paramenter.
Students at Central Connecticut State University are facing the repercussions as well.
“Over the past two weeks since the hurricane has hit, when I filled up, I noticed that gas went up from about $2.39 to $2.97,” said Pharoh Mathis, a CCSU sophomore, whose commute is only five minutes to Central. However, other students are not so lucky.
According to CCSU’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, in the Fall 2016 semester, 9,539 students commuted and just 2,245 lived on campus, making CCSU mainly a commuter school. Therefore, paying for gas is a prevalent issue with a lot of students.
Despite the costly impact Connecticut residents are facing, the physical damage seen in Texas reached around $81 to $108 billion worth of damages of homes and commercial property, according to the national forecasting firm, Moody’s Analytics.
According to the calculations by Oil Price Information Service, the impact from Harvey caused about 25 percent of oil refining capacity in the Gulf Coast to go offline.
Eight refineries in the Houston area had to be shut down, including: Exxon, Mobil, Baytown, Deer Park, Pasadena Refining and Phillips 66 Sweeny. In the Texas city, Corpus Christi, refineries including; Flint Hills, Valero, CITGO, and Valero Three Rivers were forced to shut down as well.
The area from Corpus Christi to the Louisiana state line makes up 3 percent of the US economy, and is an important export market for oil.
Ultimately, Harvey’s economic impact can be felt across the U.S. as gas prices increase. As Hurricane Irma reaches the Unites States, into Florida, prices may not stabilize any time soon.