Millions of motorists traveling over the weekend paid the most expensive Labor Day gas prices in four years. Prices could get even more expensive, depending on the path and severity of Tropical Storm Gordon.
On Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center expected Gordon to strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall. The storm had not affected gas prices early this week, but that could change if refineries suffer damage or go offline. Refineries in Louisiana and Mississippi began making preparations for the storm on Monday. As of press time, no refineries, oil rigs or platforms have shut down.
The Gulf Coast is home to nearly half (45 percent) of the nation’s refinery capacity. Last year, pump prices surged after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a category 4 storm, causing mass flooding and refinery outages. Energy production dropped approximately 21 percent as a result. Although oil prices didn’t change much, gasoline futures jumped 47 cents within 5 days of Harvey’s arrival. Fifteen days after landfall, gas prices in the southeastern U.S. had climbed 40-50 cents.
“It’s too early to know just how much of an impact - if any - Gordon will have on prices at the pump,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “Market watchers will pay close attention to how refineries respond to this storm. Any supply outages would likely cause prices to climb.”
Summer gas prices average their highest price in four years. From June 1 - Aug. 31, the price for regular unleaded averaged $2.87 nationwide, $2.77 in Florida, $2.74 in Georgia, and $2.63 in Tennessee. Crude oil prices averaged $68.56 per barrel this summer - nearly $20 more than summer 2016.
Gas prices on Labor Day were also the most expensive in four years. On average, prices at the pump were 50-60 cents more than last year’s holiday.
Gas prices in Georgia are slightly higher than a week ago. The state average of $2.70 per gallon is 1-cent more than last week, and 3 cents more than this time last year.
The most expensive gas price averages in Georgia are in Atlanta ($2.74), Savannah ($2.70), and Brunswick ($2.70)
The least expensive gas price averages in Georgia are in Catoosa-Dade-Walker ($2.57), Augusta-Aiken ($2.59), and Warner Robins ($2.59).