Recent hurricanes to blame for higher gas prices

Recent hurricanes to blame for higher gas prices

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - First it was Harvey then it was Nate and local drivers are paying the price.

Gas prices have gone up as the hurricanes cut production and the high prices could last several weeks.

Gas prices are up about $.20 a gallon in the last several days and many who have filled up are already feeling the pinch.

The increases were first caused by Hurricane Harvey and disruptions in Houston, but Nate is also to blame because the storm which struck Mississippi this weekend cut a path straight through one of the most productive offshore production areas in the world.

"The storm did track through the central part of the Gulf. They couldn't have  picked a route that had more wells to interact with," said Eric Smith with the Tulane Energy Institute.

Drivers like Holly Mentz of New Orleans are feeling the pinch. "It looks like they've gone up a little bit but not drastically if they raise them because of the hurricane that's not a good," said Mentz.

Some gas stations say they have fought to keep prices steady in spite of a huge increase in demand.

"We ran out Thursday evening. (We) got a truck in Thursday night, Friday ran gas all the way to probably about 630-7 o'clock at night and ran out again," said Brian Federer at Claiborne Shell.

Smith said these increases will likely remain in place for the next several weeks due in part to inspection requirements of rigs affected by the recent hurricane activity. He says that could hold up they're being brought back on line.

Nate also interrupted oil tankers from coming into Gulf ports.

Energy experts say Houston's refineries were not too heavily damaged during Harvey and most are back in operation though some are at reduced capacity.

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