Gas prices in Atlanta climbed to their their highest point since 2015 on Friday, climbing to an average of $2,59 a gallon as a result of Hurricane Harvey storm damage.
Since last Friday, when Harvey came ashore in Texas, gas prices have increased 28 cents in Georgia.
According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline hit $2.51, surpassing the 2017 high set on April 20.
Atlanta, Athens ($2.52) and Albany ($2.44) are where gas prices are highest, while Macon ($2.37) and August ($2.39) are Georgia’s lowest. Currently the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Georgia stands at $2.51.
AAA leaders say motorists should expect gas prices to rise another 10-20 cents in the near-term due to a combination refinery and pipeline shut downs, tightened access to supply levels in the Gulf, and anticipated high gasoline demand surrounding Labor Day weekend.
“Consumers should expect to see the highest Labor Day prices at the pump since 2014,” said AAA spokesperson Josh Carrasco. “We expect the national average to top $2.60 a gallon.
“On the positive side, AAA does not expect Gulf refineries to be offline for months, as early reports indicate minimal to no significant damage to Corpus Christi and Houston refineries. Once refineries are back to full operation, we should expect to see gas prices fall towards the end of September."
Harvey has set a record for the greatest amount of single-storm rainfall for the continental U.S. Through Friday, the storm continues to threaten heavy rain to parts of Louisiana and eastern Texas (3 to 6 inches), and even move into western Kentucky (10 inches).
Here are some other updates provided by AAA:
- As of Wednesday evening, the Department of Energy (DOE) is reporting that 10 Gulf Coast refineries remain shut down.
- Six refineries have begun the process of assessing damage and restarting, which may take several days. Two refineries in the Gulf Coast region are operating at reduced rates.
- Refineries in Lake Charles, La., could shut or reduce rates as Harvey moves east.
- The DOE has released 500,000 barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve – the nation’s reserve of crude oil. The oil will be delivered via pipeline to the Phillips 66 refinery in Westlake, LA. According to DOE, it will continue to review incoming requests for oil in the reserve, meaning that it could release more if deemed necessary.
- Several major pipelines continue to operate at reduced rates, have shut down or plan to shut down due to lack of supply.
- The Colonial Pipeline announced Wednesday evening it expects to temporarily suspend its gasoline, diesel and jet fuel pipelines. With its supplying refineries closed in the area, the pipeline operator cited reduced output as the reason for suspending its transportation operations. The Pipeline originates in Houston and supplies the East Coast.