Gas prices soared up as high as 15 percent across the national as two deadly Category 4 hurricanes paved its way through the Southern part of the country. After several weeks of destructive damages and now in recovery mode, gas prices begin to ease after the passing of Hurricane Harvey and the less than expected damages by Irma.
Harvey and Irma both caused many gas stations to be flooded with people trying to fill up their cars to escape the path of destruction. Many stations were either empty or destroyed becoming unusable. Thousands of locals camped out at gas stations waiting for the stations to be refilled.
Harvey caused refineries and gas stations to shut down in the southern part of Texas, resulting in gas prices to jump up nationally. Harvey shut down nearly a quarter of the nation’s oil refineries.
The Houston average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline on Monday was $2.48, which is down from a high of $2.50 from Thursday and Friday, but still well above the $2.10 a gallon average before Harvey approached the Texas coast. The national average slipped to $2.67 per gallon, down by nearly 1 cent, but up 35 cents from pre-Harvey levels, according to Chron.
After Harvey was approaching landfall, reports of Irma, another expected Category 4 hurricane, was expected to hit South Florida and was expected to keep gas prices steady.
Gas companies saw shares rise days prior and during the storms. Few days prior to Harvey making landfall, gas, oil, and petroleum companies began to raise their prices. From the anticipation of the hurricane until Irma making landfall shares for companies began to jump. BP plc (NYSE: BP) was up over 4 percent, Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) was up 3.8 percent, Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) was up 5.7 percent, Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) was up nearly 8 percent, Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) was up 3 percent, Andeavor (NYSE: ANDV) was up almost 10 percent.
"Harvey may be long gone, but his wrath continued to drive gasoline prices up in much of the country in the last week," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. "However, the effects are finally starting to weaken as refineries return to production and fuel begins to flow once again from many Houston refineries."
Analysts project prices to slowly return back to prices before Harvey hit Texas. Nationwide, average price for unleaded gasoline on Monday was still above the previous month’s average at $2.67 per gallon, according to AAA.