Hurricane Harvey could affect Florida's gas supply

Gas Prices
Posted at 2:16 PM, Aug 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 14:16:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Hurricane Harvey isn't heading for Florida but its effects could be felt in the form of higher gas prices, according to AAA.

Experts say Harvey is expected to make landfall near the vicinity of Corpus Christi as a category 3 hurricane. 

Meteorologist Alex Cordero says the storm will be bringing very heavy and widespread downpours with strong gusty winds and life-threatening storm surge.

"This could be a big deal especially for Florida motorists," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Florida pumps are primarily supplied by gasoline that sails over from refineries in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi."

AAA says that there are three gasoline refineries there that account for about 4.2 percent of U.S. capacity. The Houston/Texas City/Baytown region has 11 refineries, making up 14 percent of U.S. processing capacity.

"Prices were already climbing due to pre-existing refinery issues in the region. This storm could cause more refinery closures and prevent tankers from moving fuel in-and-out of Texas ports, which would cause gas prices to surge," said Jenkins.

The group says prices could swell anywhere from 10 to 30 cents. So far, AAA reports that state average gas price rose five cents in the past three days and expect that number to climb as the storm plays out. 

If the storm lingers near the coast, it could cause extended closures in shipping channels, which would interrupt deliveries to Florida.