How will Hurricane Harvey affect Colorado gas prices?

Coloradans should anticipate a small – and short-lived – price jump at the pump

DENVER (August 25, 2017) – Even though we’re far flung from its path, Hurricane Harvey has the surprising potential to affect many Coloradans’ daily lives. That’s because, as the storm crashes into the central Texas coast, it will run straight through some of the country’s largest oil refineries. Corpus Christi, which is home to a total of five refineries accounting for 4.2 percent of total U.S. oil refining capacity, is currently under a NWS hurricane warning – and facility shutdowns are expected. Moreover, 11 refineries in the Houston, Texas City, and Baytown region – representing 14 percent of national processing capacity – are expected to be battered by heavy rainfall and buffeted by power outages. And, with port closures and treacherous seas effectively shutting off large portions of the Texas coast to tankers, crude imports will also take a hit – dragging down production rates.

The good news? While Coloradans should expect to see slight increases in gas prices until the storm’s full impact has been assessed, AAA Colorado anticipates the effect will be minimal and short- lived.

“Anything that impacts production anywhere will, of course, affect the price Coloradans pay for gas. That’s how the market works,” said AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley. “But the fact of the matter is that Colorado receives most of its fuel from northern refineries, not the Gulf Coast. Prices in Colorado will only be significantly affected if our supply is routed elsewhere to account for sharply limited production, which is unlikely: Refineries are equipped to come back online quickly, and imports are always an option to return supplies to pre-hurricane levels. The bottom line: Coloradans should expect to pay a little more for a little while.”

Per AAA analysis, the current average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is $2.33 – about two cents below the national average. That’s about level to the average price a week ago, and five cents more than Coloradans paid a month ago. Colorado gas prices hit an all-time high of $4.093 a gallon in July 2008.

About AAA Colorado
More than 650,000 members strong, AAA Colorado is the state’s greatest advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services – as well as member-exclusive savings. For more information, visit Colorado.AAA.com