Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Gas prices spiking in Tennessee; analysts point to Hurricane Harvey

Storm Harvey paralyses a fifth of US fuel output Gasoline pipeline in Atlanta temporarily suspends operations due to Hurricane Harvey
Debra Rodriguez | 04 September, 2017, 07:06

Retail U.S. gasoline prices hit two-year highs and global shipping routes were scrambled as the nation's largest refiners remained shut on Friday, even as Harvey was losing strength.

The Colonial Pipeline is partially underwater in Houston due to heavy flooding from Harvey and that is sending gas prices soaring in the Carolinas.

According to reports, however, the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies almost 40 percent of the South's gasoline, said it may be able to resume operations by Sunday.

The shuttering of the Colonial Pipeline, which traverses 13 states, including Virginia and Maryland, could further impact gasoline prices.

The closed refineries in the Gulf region have a combined refining capacity 24.3 percent of total Gulf Coast refining capacity and 12.7 percent of total U.S. refining capacity, the U.S. Department of Energy said Sunday.

The Colonial Pipeline carries more than 100 million gallons of gas from Houston to the Triad.

As for the increased gas prices, AAA said they should start to drop next month. "Right now, it's too early to tell about Colonial Pipeline causing a shortage".

Tropical Storm Harvey's impact on the energy industry spread worldwide as flooded US refiners and closed fuel pipelines threatened to squeeze national supply, roiling global fuel markets and rerouting millions of barrels of fuel to the Americas to avert shortages.

The average USA price for regular gasoline at the pump rose 7 cents Thursday to $2.519 a gallon, the steepest single-day increase since April 5, 2007, according to data from AAA, the largest US motoring group.

The supply crunch is already being felt in Dallas-Fort Worth, where QuikTrip, one of the nation's largest convenience store chains, is temporarily halting gasoline sales at about half of its 135 stores in the area.

Colonial Pipeline Co. shut down its line carrying diesel and jet fuel from Houston to New York Harbor on Wednesday because of because of damage and refinery outages west of Lake Charles, Louisiana, related to Hurricane Harvey. The latest gasoline price spike reinforces the need to diversify the transportation sector so that it is not beholden to only one supply source-petroleum.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday expanded fuel waivers that allow winter-grade gasoline, normally not allowed to be used until mid-September, to be released to the market now to help ease shortages caused by massive refinery shutdowns along the Gulf Coast. AAA said the average in New Jersey is up nine cents compared to Thursday and is up 18 cents compared to just last week.

"Because of the shortage, you will likely see a price increase in the East Coast, which would incentivize the other refiners to shift gasoline yields", Rogers said. "I passed one gas station that's $2.44 in Cary, so this one (on South Saunders Street) is the cheapest I've seen", said Ken Bond as he was filling up at $2.31. Six refineries had begun the process of assessing damage and restarting, which may take several days.

The Energy Department announced Thursday morning that the agency would pump 500,000 barrels of oil from the USA strategic reserve.

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