Hurricane Harvey could send Florida gas prices soaring

Hurricane Harvey could cause gasoline prices in Florida to soar by as much as 30 cents a gallon, AAA warned Thursday.

The rapidly strengthening hurricane is expected to make landfall somewhere along the Texas coast late Friday or early Saturday, threatening Gulf Coast oil refineries that help supply the state with gasoline, AAA said.

Ana Melendez, of Wellington, fills up her vehicle at the 7-Eleven gas station at the corner of Congress Avenue and Forest Hill Boulevard on Tuesday, May, 2, 2017. (Michael Ares / The Palm Beach Post)

Nearly half of U.S. refining capacity is located on the Gulf Coast, and nearly one-third of those refineries appear to be in Harvey’s path, AAA said.

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

RELATED: WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH GAS TAXES IN PALM BEACH COUNTY?

Gas prices in Florida were already climbing because of “pre-existing refinery issues in the region,” Jenkins said.

On Thursday, AAA estimated the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Florida to be $2.30, and $2.38 in Palm Beach County. The average price in Florida and Palm Beach County has risen by a dime in the past month, AAA said.

“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 from 10-30 cents,” Jenkins said.

Gas prices in Florida have climbed 5 cents over the last three days, AAA said.

Among the areas that have seen the largest price jumps: Tampa (10 cents), Orlando (10 cents), Fort Myers-Cape Coral (7 cents), and the region of Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice (6 cents).

 

 

 

 

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