Motorists can expect to pay more at the gas pumps throughout the month of September after Hurricane Harvey stalled refineries in the Gulf Coast.
The week before Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, gas prices averaged $2.35 in Florida and now has increased nearly 30 cents at $2.64.
“It’s normal to shutdown refineries when hurricanes enter the Gulf Coast. It’s a safety precaution,” said Josh Carrasco, spokesman for AAA.
On Tuesday morning, gas prices in Destin ranged from $2.59 a gallon to $2.69 a gallon. Carrasco said he still expects gas prices to rise 10 to 20 cents in the coming days.
Refineries in Corpus Christi and Port Arthur, Texas, are starting to open up for business and received no to minimum damages from the hurricane.
“Once they are up and running at full capacity, we will see gas prices come back down,” said Carrasco. “Corpus Christi actually provides 4 percent of overall oil refining in the U.S.”
Most of the gasoline is coming from northeastern refineries, like New York Harbor.
“People are basically paying the cost of transportation. That is what we are seeing at the gas pump,” Carrasco said.
Carrasco said there won’t be any gasoline outages and prices should go down toward the end of September or early October.
“People don’t need to panic and make long lines at gas stations,” he said. “You will find gas at your local gas station.”
Despite the assurances, locals are taking advantage the current prices and filling up their gas tanks before gas prices go any higher.
“I’m making sure my tank is full before prices spike,” said Kate Ross, who was pumping gas on Friday at the Sunoco gas station on Harbor Boulevard. “With these prices, tourists might not want to travel to our area for big holidays like Labor Day.”
Allan Penton also stopped by Sunoco gas station to fill up his gas tank and several gas cans.
“Hopefully, this will hold me up until these gas prices go down a bit,” he said. “These gas prices went up out of nowhere and I can’t imagine how high they will go.”