CHICAGO (CBS) — We have hit a new high at the gas pumps.
Hurricane Harvey already made an impact on gas prices earlier this week, and Patrick DeHaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst at GasBuddy warned that the prices would continue to rise.
“The delicate balance of supply and demand has been tipped in one side and that tends to make the market a little bit more chaotic and gas prices can jump very quickly,” he said.
Gas prices are now the highest of the year, so far – $2.50 a gallon in Illinois and Indiana.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), that $2.50 price in Illinois is up from $2.37 a month ago and up from $2.33 a year ago. And in Indiana it is an increase from $2.38 last month and $2.26 last year. Nationally, the average is $2.45, also the highest recorded price for 2017.
A Joliet City Council member, Larry Hug was at a gas station and told The Herald News the price went up from $2.08 to $2.49 – 41 cents before his eyes.
“When I was there pumping gas in my wife’s car, the big sign changed to $2.49,” Hug said. “It went up 41 cents. When I came in, it was $2.08.”
But it is not just Hurricane Harvey related.
It’s a perfect storm – the combination of with numerous Gulf Coast refineries shut down and pipeline interruptions, plus the holiday weekend.
“Drivers in Illinois and Indiana will see a short-term spike in the coming weeks, but quickly dropping by mid to late September,” said Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA, in a statement. “While we don’t yet know the full effects of the hurricane on refineries, we do not expect a supply shortage.”
DeHaan said this is a real cause and effect situation, as about 15 percent of the nation’s refining capacity is shutdown.
How long will we see higher prices?
DeHaan said it really just depends on how long refineries are down.
Demand typically drops after Labor Day and prices will drop in the Midwest as more expensive summer-blend gasoline is phased out.