Good Question: How Do Hurricanes Affect Gas Prices?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As of Monday, gas prices are steady in the Twin Cities.

That could change as Hurricane Harvey continues to wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast – where many of the country’s oil refineries are located. So, what does that mean for the prices of gas outside of Texas? Good Question.

The U.S. refines 17 million barrels of crude a day. About 15 percent of those refineries had to be closed due to Hurricane Harvey. Even just a few days of being offline will impact gas supplies across the U.S.

Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy.com told CNBC on Monday gas prices could jump between 30 and 35 cents a gallon in the Gulf Region. He estimated it would be between five and 15 cents in the Midwest and East.

“In theory, you’ll be cushioned from the price increase simply because you’re refining that gasoline,” says Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData.

According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, most of the oil consumed in Minnesota originates in North Dakota and Canada. The vast majority of it is refined at refineries in St. Paul Park and Rosemount.

CBS News Business Analyst Jill Schlessinger told CBS This Morning the prices will come down in “weeks, not months.”

Smith says how quickly that happens depends on how much damage to the refineries is still left to be discovered.

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