Harvey causes gas prices to surge

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On Tuesday night, the price of gas was about 93.9 cents per litre.

The average price for regular unleaded gasoline was at $2.416 a gallon early Wednesday afternoon, according to GasBuddy. That's setting up a possible 20 percent increase in gas prices.

The soon-to-expire September gasoline futures contract has rallied to levels not seen in more than two years, but the October contract hasn't-thanks to a "summer grade" advantage and Hurricane Harvey.

Gas prices in the South and Southeast average three cents higher than last week.

Several refineries in Texas shut down in advance of the storm and other refineries, including some in the northeast, are shipping supplies to areas of the country where supplies are low.

Numerous refineries that remained open are working at a reduced capacity.

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The refinery shutdowns caused the Colonial Pipeline to shut part of its operation from the Texas Gulf Coast because it doesn't have enough product to move through the pipeline. "Some gas stations charged $5 a gallon and they would only let you get up to 10 to 15 gallons".

The average for gas prices in the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice market has climbed 10 cents per gallon since Monday, showing the stress on supplies resulting from now Tropical Depression Harvey's impact on the refinery-rich coasts of Texas and Louisiana. Average gas prices in Topeka are at $2.28 today, up eight cents in the past week, according to AAA Kansas.

Schwind says the extent of damage or interruption at Texas refineries will determine future prices.

AAA says SC is seeing one of the largest increases in gas prices in the country from Tuesday to Wednesday, but the uptick is only by about 5 cents.

But Jane Webster, a travel agent with Columbus Tour and Travel, said most people don't venture too far over the extended holiday weekend.

AAA hasn't changed that policy this year, but it is tracking another statistic closely at the moment-gas prices. Modesto- $2.81/g, up 0.7 cents per gallon from last week's $2.80/g.

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