As Hurricane Florence pummels the East Coast, fuel experts are beginning to assess what it might mean for fuel prices across the country.
There is actually a silver lining on the horizon.
Stations in the immediate affected area of Hurricane Florence aren’t able to refill their storage tanks as quickly as motorists are filling up due to the influx of demand, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. “Supply continues to flow out of refineries at normal levels, so the outages at stations are more of a headache than a panic — there’s many stations that still have fuel as refiners and gasoline production have continued countrywide. There have been no refinery shutdowns as a result of Florence.”
Motorists in the affected regions can expect some continued bottlenecks as stations try to catch up.
After Hurricane Florence passes, power disruptions may make filling up more challenging, but motorists should not worry. There is plenty of gasoline. The delay is due to the logistics of getting gasoline to the stations.
More delays may occur after Hurricane Florence has moved on due to possible storm damage, debris or flooding.
“The good news for motorists is that this is not an event that will result in widespread gas price spikes. Refiners are unhindered and out of the way of the storm, so gasoline keeps flowing.” DeHaan said. “Gas prices are still likely to fluctuate in the days and weeks ahead, but it will likely be due to other factors, such as the price of oil rising or falling. There may be minor price movements, mainly in the hardest hit areas as a result, but only in a worst case scenario. Gas prices will eventually fall due to lower autumn demand and a switch to cheaper winter gasoline that takes place this weekend. This event is very unlikely to drive broad large price increases.”
Those in need of fuel can download the GasBuddy app to find out which gas stations have gas, diesel and power. GasBuddy also has a live blog updating the latest gas station outages in affected areas of Hurricane Florence. In addition, data being submitted to GasBuddy is being sent to help authorities monitor the situation.