Gas prices surge to 2-year highs after Hurricane Harvey

Gasoline prices jumped to two-year highs Friday as Hurricane Harvey continued to paralyse refineries and pipelines in Texas.

Motiva’s Port Arthur refinery, the largest in the US, shut down on Wednesday and will be closed for at least two weeks, Reuters reported. Colonial Pipeline, which owns the largest pipeline for gas distribution in the US, said Thursday that deliveries from the hurricane region would be intermittent. It expected to resume distribution from Houston on Sunday.

The disruptions have extended beyond the Gulf Coast to the East Coast, where several refineries have run out of gas for immediate delivery ahead of the Labour Day weekend, Reuters reported.

According to the AAA, the average national price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $US2.519 early on Friday, the highest of 2017. It was up about seven cents from $US2.449 the previous day. Gas prices were 7% above their average a week ago.

Gasoline futures for October delivery fell on Friday for the first time in five days, or since the Hurricane made landfall a week ago. The contract fell by as much as 3% to $US1.7189 per gallon.

Earlier this week, the Department of Energy released 500,000 barrels from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve to a Phillips 66 refinery in Louisiana to make up support the shortfall from offline facilities in Texas.

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