Will Hurricane Idalia impact gas prices?

(NewsNation) — As Hurricane Idalia sweeps across the Southeast, it’s hard not to wonder whether prices at the pump will spike in the aftermath like the U.S. saw with storms like Hurricane Katrina.

If you live in the affected area, like Florida and Georgia, you may see gas prices spike. But out of the Southeast, it’s unlikely Idalia will have an impact at the pump.

Andrew Gross, with the American Automobile Association, told NewsNation that based on Idalia’s path, there’s no need for most of the country to worry about rising gas prices.

“When you think of those mega-refineries that we have, that Texas to Louisiana section, that’s where those mega-refineries are,” Gross said.

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Because Idalia’s path took a more eastern route, away from the Gulf refineries, the nationwide gas supply should remain stable.

For those in the Southeast, there could be shortages or price increases temporarily due to port closures and damaged roads hindering the ability to refuel gas stations. But Gross said people shouldn’t expect things to last more than three weeks.

“So there could be about 10 days to two weeks of a little uncertainty; there may be some spot shortages here and there in those areas directly impacted by the hurricane,” he said. “But if you’re not impacted by the hurricane, you’d never know.”

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However, Gross cautioned that while Idalia is unlikely to cause significant impacts as of now, if the storm’s path changes, it could be a different picture. Future storms could also create problems should they cause severe damage along the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

With Hurricane Franklin already brewing in the Atlantic and a hurricane season that could continue for months, people may see a pause in falling gas prices.

“But again, the next one, once the news of another storm develops, that’ll stop, you know, it’s sort of freezes the game a little bit, until folks can figure out is it going to impact the Gulf Coast or is it going to stay out in the Atlantic?” Gross said.

Gas prices have been nudging down recently, according to AAA, but could be slowed as the Labor Day weekend approaches. As of Wednesday, the national average is $3.83.

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