Expect NJ gas prices to rise because of Hurricane Harvey
The devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey halfway across the country will cause a minor to moderate pinch at the pump for New Jersey motorists.
About 15 percent of U.S. refinery capacity has been shut down due to the storm's stubborn and ferocious attack on the Texas Gulf Coast, according to GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan.
"There's very little breathing room when it comes to supply and demand," DeHaan told New Jersey 101.5 on Tuesday. "We're talking about 1 to 2 million barrels of refining capacity that's offline per day, if not rising."
DeHaan said New Jersey gasoline prices are already up 2.5 cents since Sunday. He expects Garden State motorists will see an overall increase of up to 15 cents per gallon over the next couple of weeks.
"I wouldn't quantify it as dire or severe," he said. "It could go higher depending on much damage there is to those refineries."
The Colonial Pipeline, which connects Houston with East Coast states and runs as far as Linden, has been dealing with service interruptions caused by the storm.
DeHaan said any price upticks at the pump should be neutralized by late September. New Jersey's gas prices are expected to dip even lower at that time due to the end of the summer driving season and the refineries' shift to a cheaper winter gasoline.
"This is a temporary pinch at the pump," DeHaan said. "It's going to be a little uncomfortable for those hitting the road for Labor Day, but it will wind down in the next couple weeks."
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.