Are gas prices increasing post-Ida? Yes, but not much

Published 2:00 pm Thursday, September 2, 2021

As is typical following a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, gas prices have been expected by producers and consumers alike to rise temporarily.

A rise in price at the pump has been seen nationwide — three cents per gallon as of Thursday morning to $3.18, according to AAA. The increase is compared to Monday’s price of $3.15.

In Mississippi, the average price of fuel Thursday morning was $2.78 per gallon, and $2.73 in Lincoln County.

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GasBuddy — a nationwide app that compares current gas prices — listed 10 Brookhaven-area fuel stations with gas ranging from $2.65 to $2.89 Thursday morning.

AAA reports motorists could see “temporary spikes” in the cost of gas, due to at least four refineries shut down one week ago prior to Hurricane Ida. Nine oil refineries were in Ida’s path. The hurricane was expected to take about 13% of the nation’s refining capacity offline. Earlier this week, AAA officials said it could take refineries at least three weeks to return to normal operations following a category 4 storm. Offshore production was expected to resume much sooner.

Oil companies evacuated personnel and shut down Gulf of Mexico operations ahead of the storm, closing down 95.65% of Gulf oil production and 93.75% of natural gas production, according to the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

If infrastructure was undamaged, however, producers could restart drilling and pumping within days.

ExxonMobil reported that its Hoover platform was undamaged and was in the process of resuming normal operations. Shell confirmed three platforms were intact but did not provide an estimate for resuming production.

As yet, gas prices have not suffered much of a change from recent pre-hurricane pricing in the Brookhaven area, and they are far less than the 45-cent per gallon on-average increase post-Katrina.

If another storm were to hit the gulf before gas and oil production comes back online, prices could see a sharp upturn. As of Thursday, only one storm was in the Atlantic — Hurricane Larry — and its projected track was not toward the Gulf of Mexico.