As Tropical Storm Isaac builds to hurricane status and makes a westerly turn, attention has shifted from its impact on the Republican National Convention in Tampa to its possible effect on gas prices as the storm now heads toward the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
50 oil platforms and rigs have been evacuated in that area. AAA Carolinas Public Relations Manager Angela Dailey says, if Isaac hits that area of the gulf, a spike in gas prices would occur.”We definitely expect to see a negative impact, it’s just a matter of how much that its going to be,” she told South Carolina Radio Network, ”A lot of that depends on if the storm is a category one hurricane or if it accelerates into a category 3 hurricane. That would impact the supply of oil coming from the Gulf.”
According to SouthCarolinaGasPrices.com, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in South Carolina increased 4.4 cents last week to $3.46. The national average price per gallon of regular gas increased 3.0 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.73. However, it has gone up 7 cents in the past two weeks.
After a drop in price over late spring into early summer, Dailey says the cost of a gallon has crept up over the past several weeks. Dailey defines what a spike in price would be if Gulf Coast refineries are damaged. “We saw it go up a penny every day and over the past week or so it’s ben more like a fraction of a cent. I would say a spike would be five cents overnight; then over the course of a week or two of it going 10 to 20 to 25 cents higher.”
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, the price of gas moved from about $2.50 to $3.10 a gallon in a couple of weeks.