The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is now expected to affect gas prices nationwide, and even here in Central New York.

AAA is reporting that over the last week, the national average for gas has hit $2.45, the highest national average we've seen in 2017, and that could get even higher as cleanup from Harvey continues and Americans hit the road for Labor Day Weekend.

Hurricane Harvey not only displaced millions and decimated downtown Houston, but it also caused the shut-down of at least 10 Gulf Coast oil refineries.

AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano says prices should be back down later this month:

“Consumers will see a short-term spike in the coming weeks with gas prices likely topping $2.50/gal, but quickly dropping by mid to late September,” Casselano said. “AAA does not expect refineries to be offline for months, as early reports indicate minimal to no significant damage to Corpus Christi and Houston refineries.”

As of August 31, 6 of the Gulf Coast refineries have begun the process of assessing damage and re-starting refinery operations.

Two other refineries in the region were not shut down due to Harvey, but they have been working at reduced production rates.

The situation that could affect New Yorkers is that of the Colonial Pipeline - which supplies the East Coast's gasoline -  and is supplied by the Gulf Coast refineries. With limited production of gas coming out of the region the Colonial Pipeline announced that it is suspending it's gas pipelines until the Gulf Coast refineries are back up and running.

Despite all the shut-downs or reduced production, that doesn't mean there is a shortage of gas, it just means we may see a price increase over the next month or two.

“The shut downs do not indicate a shortage of gasoline supplies in the Gulf Coast region or across the country,” added Casselano. “These are preventative measures. Overall stocks in the Gulf are above average levels and will be available to drivers once power is restored and area roads are cleared.”

The state most affected since Harvey hit land on Friday South Carolina, who saw an increase of 19 cents per gallon.

The National gas price average hasn't been above $2.50 since August of 2015, but thanks to Harvey it looks like we're headed that way once again.




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