Despite Hurricane Ida sparing much of the Sunshine State, Florida motorists could still feel the storm’s impact at the gas pump, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).
Ida made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds, pummeling New Orleans and leaving hundreds of thousands of people in the city without power. Ravaging much of the Southeastern part of the state, the storm also battered much of the Gulf Coast, upending the power grid, while causing significant flooding and at least one confirmed death. The severe devastation has led utility companies like Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) to deploy employees and contractors to assist with recovery efforts following the aftermath.
And while Ida has since diminished to a tropical storm as it tracks across the Southeast, its lingering effects may soon be felt in Florida.
Battering the Gulf Coast region, Ida also slammed crucial oil rigs, refineries, terminals and ports that are critical to Florida’s fuel supply chain. AAA says it’s only a matter of time before Floridians experience an increase in gas prices.
“Drivers will almost assuredly see gas prices rise this week, because of Hurricane Ida’s effects on the Gulf Coast,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for the American Automobile Association. “Based on overnight movement in the futures market, a 10-20 cent jump at the pump is not out of the question. Where gas prices go from here will depend on the extent of the damage and how long it will take for fuel production and transportation lines to return to normal.”
AAA also noted the importance of the Gulf Coast refineries, which account for a large percentage of the nation’s crude oil production.
“Refineries in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama account for more than 45% of the nation’s capacity for refining crude oil into gasoline and other important products,” AAA added. “Additionally, the region is home to nearly 2,000 offshore oil platforms, which accounts for 17% of the nation’s crude oil production.”
Florida’s gas prices have been on the decline over the past three weeks after hitting a yearly high of $3.03 earlier this month. The average price at the pump for unleaded sits at $2.94 a gallon, which is 21 cents less than the national average and 4 cents lower than the start of last week.
For more information of gas prices across the state, click here.