Beyond the obvious and immediate destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey this week, there are a number of long-term effects still to consider.
The gulf coast in particular is a sensitive area for a hurricane of Harvey’s magnitude. Not only are the low-lying lands subject to intense and prolonged flooding, but the warm waters of the Gulf have a way of strengthening and prolonging these storms’ impact far beyond immediate landfall.
Furthermore, our nation’s gulf coast, particularly in Texas, is the epicenter of the U.S. oil refining industry, with an enormous percentage of America’s petroleum products and gasoline being manufactured in areas affected by Harvey today and storms like Rita before it.
Now, experts are warning that areas such as Dallas-Forth Worth could see gas shortages as soon as Labor Day, with the long term effects of these refinery disruptions creating an enormous impact on the national gasoline supply as well.
“On the eve of the busy Labor Day holiday weekend, convenience store operators and other gasoline retailers said Wednesday there’s a strong chance they will run out of fuel at some locations this weekend because of supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Harvey.
“’I called my family members and told them to fill up their tanks,’ said John Benda, who owns three Fuel City stores in Haltom City and Dallas and is building a fourth in Saginaw. ‘I have never seen it this tight, since 1980, even when we were rationing.’
“Multiple refineries have shut down in Houston, Baytown, Port Arthur and other areas slammed by Harvey and the historic flooding that followed. Some pipelines that move fuel out of the Gulf Coast also are down, Benda said.“The shrinking supplies have pushed up prices at the pump. Gas prices spiked to an average of $2.39 a gallon in the Fort Worth-Arlington area Wednesday evening, up from about $2.17 a gallon at the start of the week, according to the fuel price tracking website GasBuddy.”
These gas shortages won’t merely affect citizens of the area either, as rescue efforts could easily be hampered by the inability to fuel trucks and heavy machinery needed to rebuild.
If you are in the immediate vicinity of a gas shortage and your travel is not absolutely necessary, it is advisable to stay put and allow emergency personnel first dibs on any remaining fuel.