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Gas Prices Spike In Harveys Wake East Coast Is Hardest Hit

| by Hank Schlesinger

Gas prices have predictably gone up in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The massive flooding and damage caused by the storm resulted in several Gulf Coast refineries ceasing operations. And the Colonial Pipeline, the nation's largest gas conduit, was shut down for several days. These factors, among others, sent gas prices to their highest level in two years. As of Sept. 6, the national retail average was $2.68 a gallon.

"Hurricane Harvey may no longer be raining down on the Gulf Coast, but the storm's impact continues to drive up gas prices across the country," AAA said.

Gas prices on the East Coast, according to reports, increased most. Boston and New York City saw increases of 35¢ or more per gallon, sending prices up to nearly $3 a gallon. Also hit hard by rising prices were Texas and other parts of the Gulf Coast.

Harvey's impact on prices is comparable to that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The impact may have been much worse, some analysts pointed out, if not for steps taken to minimize lost production, such as releasing some oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. | SEE STORY

At present time, several of the refineries shut down by the storm have restarted, though some are running at reduced output. The Colonial Pipeline, which supplies petroleum up and down the East Coast, is operating again, but at reduced capacity.

Although they are confident that gas prices will fall in the coming weeks and months, analysts have been especially cautious in their predictions. As one energy analyst noted, gas prices are particularly "sticky." Although they rise quickly, their descent is typically much slower.

Topics: Vending

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