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Hurricane Florence Could Cause Nationwide Gas Prices to Rise

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Similar to how Hurricane Harvey caused gas prices to increase, Hurricane Florence has the potential to make gas more expensive in the Carolinas and beyond

Harvey relief team

As Carolina residents prepare for a major storm, drivers nationwide should prepare for higher prices at the gas pump
Photo: Texas Army national Guard

At the beginning of September, AAA predicted that nationwide gas prices would drop to an average of $2.70 this autumn. Still, that prediction came with some stipulations: Mainly that a hurricane hitting the coast could send gas prices climbing once again.

With Hurricane Florence about to make landfall along the Carolina Coast, that scenario is seemingly a reality. As such, AAA is now predicting that gas prices will increase in the weeks following Hurricane Florence.

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After Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast last year, gas prices rose somewhere between $0.10 and $0.17, depending on the region. Unsurprisingly, gas prices experienced major increases in the Houston metropolitan area following the hurricane.

AAA says that price increases probably won’t be as dramatic during Hurricane Florence’s aftermath. One main reason why is that Hurricane Harvey heavily affected Texas oil production. Meanwhile, there isn’t nearly as much oil production in North and South Carolina.

Still, AAA warns that drivers who live on the East Coast may very well see higher gas prices starting later this week.

“A storm like this typically causes an increase in fuel purchases in the market and a slowdown in retail demand. Motorists can expect spikes in pump prices to be brief, but possibly dramatic,” explains Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

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South Carolina currently has some of the nation’s least expensive gasoline prices, with an average price of $2.59 per gallon. Meanwhile, Midwestern states like Michigan and Illinois have experienced gas price decreases of up to $0.12 per gallon.

Originally, the transition from the summer blend of gasoline to the winter blend was to send gas prices on a downward trend. It remains to be seen just how large of an effect Hurricane Florence has on the nation’s gas prices.

Source: AAA