PUTNAM COUNTY, N.Y. - In the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and with more damage expected when Hurricane Irma makes landfall, motorists in Putnam County have seen prices at the pump surging at a time they’d normally be dropping.
Nationally, the average price per gallon of gas on Friday was at $2.67, up 16 cents from a week ago and more than 30 cents from a month ago. In New York, the average on Friday was $2.83, an increase of 23 cents from just a week ago, and up 35 cents from a month ago.
Following Harvey, AAA New York Media Relations Manager Robert Sinclair, Jr. said that the continued flooding in the area is leading to electrical failures at refineries, shutting down all production. Hurricane Irma is expected to have a similar effect on prices at the pump, affecting distribution.
According to AAA, motorists in 26 states are paying 25 cents to 44 cents more for a gallon of unleaded compared to seven days ago. Every state has seen an increase in gas prices except four — Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii and Utah — where prices remain stable.
Sinclair noted that with refineries forced to switch the blends of gasoline from an eco-friendly summer blend to a less expensive winter blend by Sept. 15, motorists would normally see prices beginning to drop as stations offload excess barrels in preparation of the switch.
However, with the hurricanes wreaking havoc in the south, there is an air of uncertainty regarding the recent future of gas prices in the area.
“We were poised for a good time. Now it’s really a wait and see kind of thing, so long as it keeps raining,” he said. “It’s impossible to see how or when we will be affected, but I believe we will. It may not be as profound as some other storms in our area, but we will soon see some change.”
In a statement, AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano said that as Texas begins recovery efforts following Harvey, the organization will continue monitoring Hurricane Irma. In total, eight Gulf Coast refineries are in the process of restarting, which will benefit distribution to the northeast.
“Our regional AAA teams are preparing for the impact Irma may have on our members. The safety of our response teams and members is our number one priority,” she said. “AAA will continue to monitor Irma’s path and the potential impact the hurricane could have on residents in the area, as well as the refineries, pipelines and supply distribution components.”
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