Miami Valley could see jump in gas prices after winter storm freezes the South

Side Streets like this one in Moraine are still snow covered Tuesday morning, Feb. 16, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Side Streets like this one in Moraine are still snow covered Tuesday morning, Feb. 16, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

A winter storm in the South could cause the national average gas price to jump 10-20 cents over the next two weeks.

Eleven refineries in Texas and one in Kansas were at least partially shut down due to extremely cold temperatures, according to GasBuddy, with 3.48 million barrels of refining capacity representing 20% of the country’s capacity offline as of midday Tuesday.

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As a result, the nation’s current average of $2.54 per gallon could increase to $2.75 per gallon over the next two weeks. The increase would be among the highest prices since 2019 and highest seasonal prices in more than five years, GasBuddy reported.

“The quicker the affected refineries are able to come back online, the better, and perhaps less painful for motorists than if they remain out of service for even longer,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Oil prices have continued to rally as global oil demand recovers from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the extreme cold weather shutting refineries down, us motorists just can’t seem to catch a break. We probably won’t see much, if any relief, anytime soon.”

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Markets closer to the refineries will likely take the biggest hit, including Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

“While other regions are also likely to see impacts to gas prices, the amount may be slightly less,” De Haan said. “Even after this event is over, it may take refineries days or even a week or two to fully return to service, and with gasoline demand likely to accelerate as we approach March and April, the price increases may not quickly fade.”

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GasBuddy predicts that gas prices could get even closer to $3 a gallon as the country approaches Memorial Day and refineries switch over to EPA-mandated cleaner summer fuel.