Isaac Pushes Gas Prices to Record High for Labor Day Weekend
AAA still expects more drivers on the road than last year
Hurricane Isaac may have been downgraded to a tropical depression as of Friday morning, but that hasn’t stopped the storm from pushing gas prices higher around the country coming into the holiday weekend.
Much weaker than Hurricane Katrina, the storm that hit the same region seven years ago to disastrous results, Isaac still brought more rain waters to some areas of Louisiana than its predecessor, forcing many refineries to stop operations temporarily. While these closures will necessarily drive gas prices up over the short-term, the lack of lasting damage should allow refineries to begin producing at regular rates once deeper damage assessments are completed in the coming days.
“It’s a little early to say for certain, but it appears they were relatively unharmed,” said Michael Green, AAA public relations manager, of the region’s refineries. “That’s good news for the oil refiners.”
Isaac will continue to weave its way through the southern U.S. over the next 48 hours, packing much less punch in terms of wind, but bringing with it record rainfalls for areas that have experienced an otherwise dry summer. The states of Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois will be the next to feel the effects of the storm as it slowly tracks northeastward. With the Atlantic hurricane season only just beginning, observers are keeping a close eye on any potential increase in fuel costs between now and the storm season’s official end on October 31.
The national average price of gas is currently at $3.83 per gallon following a two cent increase on Wednesday; future storm effects aside, AAA has reported that it expects gas prices to begin falling steadily by mid-September, though no one is yet willing to estimate just how much of a fall that could be.