MOBILE, Ala. - As Hurricane Isaac bears down on the New Orleans coastline, analysts continue to forecast an uptick in pump prices and possible outages at gasoline stations in the storm€™s path, the Press-Register reports.
"Market forces will naturally push prices higher. The most effective thing for the public to do right now is to conserve the fuel they have because lack of demand drives prices right back down," said Kevin Spriggs, owner of three gas stations and director of the Petroleum and Convenience Marketers of Alabama.
Some West Mobile stations have run out of fuel, but most stations so far still have enough of a supply. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley preemptively declared a state of emergency for South Alabama. That order will limit price increases to no more than 25% today€™s prices.
"You€™re going to see some refineries shut down, so by Wednesday we€™ll definitely see a disruption in the national supply chain. That disruption is going to cause (store owners) to want to hold on to their little slice of the pie," said Spriggs.
Meanwhile, MarketWatch reports that gasoline prices across the country will increase because of the hurricane. "We expect to continue breaking daily records through Labor Day and longer as a result of Isaac and other factors," said Michael Green, AAA spokesman.
In Louisiana, wholesale prices of fuel bumped up 17 cents, with major brands soaring as much as 24 cents from Monday to Tuesday, said NACS spokesman Jeff Lenard. Energy companies evacuated their offshore oil rigs on Monday because of the approaching storm.
When hurricanes disrupt power and refinery production on the Gulf Coast, shortages of gasoline and other motor fuels products can develop more than a thousand miles away. Read more.
In addition, the Department of Energy releases an updated Situation Report at 3:00 pm EDT each day. As of yesterday, DOE reported that 93.28% of crude oil production was shut-in, as was 66.70% of natural gas production. A total of five refineries had shut down production, with a combined capacity of 936,500 barrels per day. An additional three refineries had reduced their operations by an undisclosed volume.