(WTNH) — Traffic may not be drivers’ only late summer headache. Hurricane Harvey is a long way away, but we are going to start feeling its effects soon in Connecticut. The hurricane is hitting Texas, a part of the country that is key to the oil business. That means gas prices will likely jump.
GasBuddy is expecting gas prices to be impacted over the next week or two, maybe longer. It’s still unclear what this will mean for drivers, but experts expect to have a better idea by early next week.
Fran Mayko of AAA Northeast says if the storm causes some of the oil refineries to go offline, drivers will notice.
“When they’re offline for a period of time, you’re going to see a price increase and it could be very, very dramatic,” she said.
Gulf refineries produce about 45% of the oil in the U.S., and a third of the refineries are directly in the storm’s path. Hundreds of oil rigs are located along the coast.
Drivers filling up their cars in Milford on Friday evening say higher gas prices will not change their plans.
“I’m pretty consistent – back and forth to work,” said Bill McCone of West Haven. “Even if I did have any type of travel to do, it wouldn’t be bad.”
Many drivers are expecting the prices to jump, but they’re optimistic. However, they say the timing could be tough for some families.
“I think as people are getting their kids back in school they may be concerned about gas prices and they may shorten their trips a little bit,” said Bo Saulsbury of Maryland.
Though drivers are gearing up for price hikes, experts say there are still a lot of questions. How high these prices get will depend on Hurricane Harvey. Don’t expect prices to rise just yet, however.
“We may feel the residual effects, but it’s not going to be immediate,” Mayko said. “It could be within the next three, four days.”
A worst-case scenario would involve extensive damage in the refining hub of Houston. For now, experts will be watching the storm.