Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall on Florida’s Panhandle region Wednesday and forecasters say the powerful storm could also shift into the Gulf of Mexico where many fuel rigs and refineries are located.
Rose White, with AAA Iowa, says they’re watching the hurricane’s movements closely. “We do not currently expect Michael to have any direct impact on gasoline availability or prices at the pump but we do know these things can change quickly as the storm approaches,” White says. Past major storms that have swept through the Gulf Coast region have caused significant damage to offshore oil drilling operations and disrupted the fuel-making process for weeks.
White says, “Michael is not forecast to interact with a significant number of fuel rigs or refineries which would reduce the odds of a gas price spike here in the Midwest.” In the past month, gas prices have climbed 15-cents a gallon in Iowa as refineries shut down for maintenance and due to a hike in crude oil prices.
“Across the U.S., motorists are paying an average of $2.91 for unleaded,” White says, “and Iowa’s average is $2.86.” Iowa City has the most expensive average price for gas at $2.89 while it’s cheapest in Council Bluffs at $2.77.