Well That’s a Relief: Hurricane Irene Shouldn’t Affect Gas Prices Much

Now that we’ve made it through Hurricane Irene, in many cases with less damage than expected, we can turn our attention to the real question: what does this mean for gas prices?

Hurricane Irene certainly had an impact on transportation, but don't expect a lasting change in gas prices from it. Photo: ##http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Hurricane+Irene/photos##NY Daily News##

From Lexington, Kentucky to Palm Springs, California, consumers have seen some jump in gas prices over the past week. Some say it may have had to do with the fact that one of the 10 East Coast oil refineries shut down temporarily due to the storm.

But don’t blame Irene for all of it. Some of the jump was just market jitters after Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s speech last week. And a predictable spike in demand during the upcoming Labor Day weekend could push prices higher, according to Stephen Schork, publisher of the industry newsletter the Schork Report, quoted by CNNMoney.

Indeed, writes Eric Jaffe in Infrastructurist, Irene likely won’t have much impact at all:

After Hurricane Ike, in 2008, fuel costs crept toward $5 a gallon in places. But Ike hit the Gulf Coast, where fuel production is several times greater than it is among East Coast refineries. In addition, the supplies that do exist will go further than normal after Irene, since demand plummeted this weekend in the typically high-traffic Northeast.

CNN even speculates that lagging demand could send fuel prices downward.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog readers have commented that a few days with fewer cars (at least in some places) has been a nice change of pace, and Noah hopes that the event will remind people that it’s important to have multiple transportation options. If Irene serves to do that, her impact on transportation would be a heck of a lot more significant than a momentary blip in the price of regular.

  • Oscarfrye

    Oil and gas prices have far ranging impacts on many aspects of society.

  • I hope all of the people who suffer this disaster will be safe, god will bless them.

  • Anonymous

    Both Irene and the Tsunami in Japan have shown that those with access to a bicycle are more mobile than those without in the immediate aftermath.

  • Rhody

    the campaign to take back federal oil company subsidies and use them to pay for Irene damage makes even more sense in this context.

  • Rhody

    the campaign to take back federal oil company subsidies and use them to pay for Irene damage makes even more sense in this context.

  • Hzelharris2003

    I have one thing to say about you guys is that we have a famliy

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Post-Irene Open Thread: A Teachable Transportation Moment

|
Sometimes the best way to understand the ordinary is to examine the extraordinary. Watching Hurricane Irene wreak havoc on the entire transportation system from North Carolina to the Canadian border brought certain patterns and questions into high relief. Here’s some of what we thought about while the power was down. Most striking to me was […]

The High Price of Cheap Gas

|
At least on the surface, the big declines in gas prices we’ve seen over the past year seem like an unalloyed good. We save money at the pump, and we have more to spend on other things, But the cheap gas has serious hidden costs—more pollution, more energy consumption, more crashes and greater traffic congestion. […]

Obama Dismisses Gas Tax “Gimmick”

|
With primaries in North Carolina and Indiana less than a week out, Barack Obama seems to have taken Streetsbloggers’ advice with this ad explaining why a suspension of the federal gas tax, as called for by Hillary Clinton and John McCain (among others), is a sham. It’s a masterful spot: the swelling orchestral score, the […]