(RNN) - A hurricane double punch is expected to continue driving gas prices northward, AAA says.
Florida and Georgia are hunkered down ahead of Irma’s arrival, and neighboring states in the Southeast are keeping a watchful eye on the huge hurricane. Hurricane Harvey provided record rainfall in Texas, and affected the nation’s oil industry.
At $2.65, the national average price for a gallon of gas is 27 cents more than at this time last week, AAA said. Drivers in about half the states are paying a quarter to 44 cents more per gallon than a week ago, and only Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii and Utah have not seen spikes in gas prices.
The Department of Energy says eight Gulf Coast refineries are in the process of restarting. They account for about 10 percent of Gulf Coast refining capabilities, AAA said. At its peak, Harvey shut 27 percent of U.S. processing capacity. No refineries have returned to normal rates, but at least four are operating at reduced rates.
As a result of Harvey's impact, the Energy Department allowed the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to release 5.6 million barrels of crude oil during the past two weeks.
AAA will be watching Irma’s impact on the pumps after it leaves its mark on the Southeast.
“AAA will continue to monitor Irma’s path and the potential impact the hurricane could have on residents in the area, as well as the refineries, pipelines and supply distribution components,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. "The good news (is) consumers will see relief from the gas price spike towards the end of this month.”
Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.