Just like with any other natural disaster we will feel the consequences of Hurricane Harvey for many days, weeks, months and maybe even years. One of the latest problems that emerged is the fact that Dallas, Texas was running out of gas.
It is a well-known fact that Houston and the surrounding area has many oil refineries and because of the storm, those had to be shut down. Almost a quarter of total daily gas needs of entire US comes from the Gulf Coast, and after the storm, Americans continued to use about 9.7 million barrels a day, but the production was reduced to 7.7 million barrels per day making a 2 million barrel deficit.
We know that the U.S. has enormous oil stockpile, about 700 million barrels, but currently, there are no gasoline reserves, and it is not that easy to deliver more of gasoline. Because of that, we expect to see the increase in fuel prices at the pumps. Some people certainly want to exploit the situation, and we could hear reports that the prices went up to $6 to $8 per gallon at some locations. Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, warned drivers that this could happen. Also, a huge number of complaints have been filed.
Here is the statement from Paxton’s office: “The Consumer Protection Division of the attorney general’s office received more than 500 complaints today, many of which involve allegations of high fuel prices in Dallas, including amounts ranging from $6-$8 dollars per gallon.”
How and why this happened?
When the news about gas production being disrupted came out, many drivers hurried up to refill their tanks. Such a huge spike dried the pumps quite quickly, and they couldn’t be resupplied in time. We know that this situation will not last long and that it will normalize, because of that, there were no reasons for the people to hurl to pumps meaning that this is pretty much a self-inflicted wound.
As we already mentioned, the majority of gas that supplies Dallas comes from Houston and Hurricane Harvey affected areas. This certainly is a problem for this city, but the help was on the way as some gas has been rerouted from Oklahoma and Tulsa. Even these would not be enough for the sudden surge in demand we know that if people didn’t storm the stations and conserved a little bit, this wouldn’t be the problem at all.
According to Patrick DeHaan, an analyst at GasBuddy, it is important not to rush to the pump. All this significantly changed the plans that people had for Labor Day, and it is suggested to postpone those trips. He also added: “I think we’re at the point now where I would look at changing [those] plans. It’s going to become a huge process for folks in [some] areas to fill up their tanks,” he said. “I wouldn’t fill up. I would only buy what I’m going to need for the next 24 hours.”