Harvey Impact: Kansas Gas Prices On The Rise
Hurricane Harvey and the massive flooding in Texas are driving up gas prices in Kansas and nationwide.
If you’ve passed a gas station lately, you’ve seen it: Gas prices are inching up. The average price per gallon in the Wichita area is $2.26.
Jennifer Haugh with AAA Kansas says they’re tracking changes daily.
"Overall Kansas average, we’ve gone up a nickel so far," Haugh says. "We are definitely still behind the national average that’s jumping too, so we are still in a good place."
Last year, the average gas price in the Wichita area was $2.15. The average gas price in Kansas on Tuesday was $2.23, up two cents from Monday.
Nationwide, gas prices averaged $2.38. Analysts are predicting at least a 25-cent spike in gas prices over the next few weeks.
At least 10 oil refineries near the Gulf Coast, representing about 15 percent of the nation’s refining capacity, are shut down.
Haugh says even when floodwaters recede, it will still take a few weeks to get the oil refineries back online and running at capacity.
"When they have a shutdown of any kind, when they retool or anything, it’s a couple of weeks to get back online," Haugh says. "Even once the waters recede and everything, you’re still looking at a couple more weeks, so that’s going to have a little bit of an impact on everyone’s resources because one-third of their refineries in that area are shut down."
The longer the Texas oil refineries are idled, the greater the economic impact will be on consumers. Oil refineries turn oil into gasoline and chemicals used in everything from shrink wrap to car tires.
Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast Friday, and then turned into a slow-moving storm that’s causing catastrophic flooding. Harvey has set a U.S. record for rainfall from a tropical storm.
Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.
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