As Texas continues to reel from catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey, gas prices in the Charlotte area could rise because of uncertainty over access to Gulf Coast refineries.
Gas prices could go up between 5 and 25 cents a gallon over the next several days, according to auto group AAA. As of early Tuesday, gas in the Charlotte area, which includes Gastonia and Rock Hill, was $2.21, up 4 cents from a week ago, according to AAA.
Several oil and gas refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast have temporarily shut down operations and production as the area recovers from the storm, which first struck the Texas coast Friday. The severity of the flooding and the restoration of power to affected areas will dictate when certain refineries reopen, AAA said.
Colonial Pipeline Co., whose pipelines carry most of North Carolina’s fuel, “continues to maintain operations,” spokeswoman Malesia Dunn told the Raleigh News & Observer. Colonial’s pipelines originate near Houston and serve terminals in Greensboro and Selma.
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But drivers rushing to gas pump over fears of a shortage could be the biggest reason prices surge, AAA says.
“Don’t over consume or change spending habits at the gas station. These behaviors could lead to gas shortages across the Carolinas,” AAA Carolinas spokeswoman Tiffany Wright said in a statement.
Meanwhile, local companies are pitching in to assist with Harvey relief.
Mooresville-based Lowe’s, for instance, announced a $500,000 donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief on Sunday. As it’s done with past hurricanes like Matthew, Lowe’s is also working with nonprofits to provide support to local communities by delivering recovery supplies such as generators, bottled water and gas cans. Wells Fargo said it’s donating $1 million to relief efforts.