Gas prices just jumped in Michigan — and across America.
The reason? Harvey.
Average prices in all 50 states went up in the past week in the wake of the hurricane. The national average jumped by 25 cents a gallon to $2.64, according to figures released today by GasBuddy, a Boston-based firm that tracks prices.
It was the biggest weekly increase in a dozen years, when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and caused prices to jump 49 cents in a week.
In Michigan, prices have gone up 8 cents since last Tuesday — to an average of $2.62 cents a gallon, according to GasBuddy. AAA, which also tracks prices in the state, has prices up by 16 cents a gallon since last Monday, 32 cents more from a year ago.
"Every state has seen average gas prices rise," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. "Texas saw shortages at hundreds of stations. It’s been one of the most challenging weeks faced in years."
The good news is that gas prices in Michigan are expected to keep rising only until Thursday, hitting as much as $2.77 a gallon, he said. Texas refineries are coming back online quickly and gasoline production is ramping back up.
But, there's a hitch.
If Irma veers into the Gulf of Mexico, it could end up taking out the South's oil infrastructure and the damage could be disastrous, potentially pushing up prices nationwide to $3 a gallon or more.
Michigan's price hike was still better than Delaware's, which went up 42 cents in a week; New Jersey's, 39 cents; and Georgia's, Maryland's and New Hampshire's, 38 cents. But, they weren't as good as in South Carolina, where they are $2.37 a gallon.
Harvey is to blame for the pinch at the pump, DeHaan said. When the hurricane hit Texas, dumping a record amount of rainfall and flooding refineries and closing ports, it caused a massive problem. More than a dozen refineries were shut down, closing more than a quarter of the nation's refining capacity.
Most of the price increases, he added said, were east of the Rockies.
"While it may be weeks or longer before all refineries are back online, the situation is beginning to look up," he said.
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