Gasoline prices could spike if Isaac shuts down refineries

by: Sarah Rosario Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Hurricane Isaac has arrived on the Gulf Coast, where much of the nation’s gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil are produced. With many refineries shutting down, it could increase the price of gas.

According to a survey by motorist group AAA, the national price for a gallon of regular gas crept up 0.6 cents to $3.76 Tuesday. According to the same survey, sharper prices were recorded in states along Isaac’s path, with gas jumping 2.5 cents to $3.64 a gallon in Louisiana, a little more than 2 cents to $3.56 in Mississippi and 1.3 cents to $3.58 in Alabama.

Don Briggs, president of Louisiana’s Oil and Gas Association, spoke to Eyewitness News about Isaac’s potential effect on gas prices.

He said they’ll spike for a short period of time but that will be the extent of it. But with Hurricane Isaac’s new path west, encompassing the entire gulf region from Florida to Texas, there’s fear both Louisiana and Texas refineries could shut down at the same time, which could be catastrophic for drivers.

“That would probably run it up some. I would hate to venture what it would be,” Briggs said.

In Charlotte, gas prices jumped two cents overnight. Eyewitness News spoke to people filling up, fearing it could happen again.

“I thought ahead and that’s why I’m here. Even though it is $67, I thought ahead,” Paul Incalcatera said.

The United States consumes about 19 million barrels of oil per day.

Gulf oil rigs produce more than a quarter of the nation’s crude oil. While refineries account for more than 60 percent of the nation’s oil and gas production.

With rigs and refineries shut down close to two billion barrel of oil are not being produced per day.

President Barack Obama has already talked about dipping into the nation’s strategic oil reserve, but if Isaac moves out of the Gulf region by the weekend, oil executives said that won’t be necessary.