Yes, Harvey is affecting Florida gas prices. But we've seen worse

Harvey and the holiday weekend will have an impact on gas prices, experts say.

TAMPA, Fla. – AAA estimates gas prices could jump by as much as 15 cents per gallon on average in Florida heading into the Labor Day holiday weekend, due in large part to Hurricane Harvey.

Multiple drilling rigs and refineries had to be evacuated ahead of the storm. 

Along the Gulf Coast, 45% of U.S. oil refineries are located in Texas and Louisiana. More than a quarter of those refineries were knocked offline by the storm, decreasing daily production of oil by more than 2.5 million barrels, according to AAA.

“When you consider what’s happening over in Texas and Louisiana, it does have a direct impact on those of us who are filling up our gas tanks here in Florida," said Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesperson.

But Jenkins said the impact on your wallet shouldn't be too dramatic.

With current average prices statewide hovering around $2.30 per gallon, a predicted 15 cent per gallon increase would still be well below prices in years prior. Average statewide prices in 2014 peaked at $3.74 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com. Prices peaked at $3.87 per gallon in 2013 and nearly $4.00 in 2012.

The predicted 15 cent per gallon jump is also well below earlier estimates of 30 cents or more, Jenkins said. 

“As the week progresses and we get a better look at how refineries were impacted by the storm that should really tell the tale of what to expect down the road," he said.

Any price increase is expected to be brief, given that prices naturally come down toward the end of summer anyway.

"After Labor Day we expect to see gas prices typically decline because refineries are normally switching over to winter-blend gasoline, demand is lower," Jenkins told 10News. "So the sooner that all the refining capacity and all the refineries there get back online the better.”

For several drivers out filling up on Tuesday, an increase at the pump is a small price to pay considering what people are going through in Texas.

“I feel bad for all the people over there, so a spike in gas prices here is nothing in comparison," said Kelly Youngblood.

GasBuddy.com determined the best day to buy gas is Monday because prices are usually cheapest then. Tuesdays are recommended for 'topping off' because while prices are not the cheapest, they're still usually pretty good.

GasBuddy's research found Thursdays and Saturdays are the most expensive days to fill up.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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