Gas Prices

The Harvey effect: Gas prices shoot up overnight

A gas station fuel price sign is seen near Kellogg and Broadway in Wichita on Wednesday. Gas prices increased more than 20 cents per gallon at a number of stations in the city overnight into Wednesday. (Aug. 30, 2017)
A gas station fuel price sign is seen near Kellogg and Broadway in Wichita on Wednesday. Gas prices increased more than 20 cents per gallon at a number of stations in the city overnight into Wednesday. (Aug. 30, 2017) The Wichita Eagle

People in Wichita aren’t dealing with the grisly effects of Hurricane Harvey, but they are having to pay more for fuel.

Gas prices in the city jumped more than 20 cents at some stations overnight into Wednesday. Many stations around Wichita – including a number of QuikTrip and Kwik Shop locations – were selling their cheapest unleaded blends for $2.49 per gallon as of early Wednesday afternoon.

The same grade of unleaded gas was selling for around $2.15 at most Wichita gas stations on Tuesday. A couple of gas stations – one on South Broadway and one at Meridian and McCormick – were still priced in the $2.25 range as of midday on Wednesday.

A significant portion of the nation’s refining capacity in the Houston area has been affected by the powerful storm, which has dumped as much as 50 inches of rain or more in parts of Texas in the past week.

Citing data compiled by Morningstar, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday that seven refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast had closed because of the storm. Those, along with 11 others in Texas and Louisiana, account for about 25 percent of the country’s total refining capacity, the report said.

The Chronicle also reported that Exxon Mobil announced Wednesday that it would shut down its large Beaumont, Texas, refinery. According to the AAA motorist club, the national average per gallon was around $2.40 as of Wednesday.

“It really is a wait and see game now,” said Jennifer Haugh of AAA Kansas in an e-email. “The longer those refineries are off-line the longer we will be dealing with higher prices.”

Haugh added, however, that the higher gas prices were still lower than the peaks of other price spikes in the past decade-plus.

“The Kansas average for gas ($2.28 on Wednesday) is still the second-lowest in the last 12 years,” Haugh said. “So, we’re not in panic mode…yet.”

The Associated Press reported that 21 deaths had been blamed on the storm as of 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

For a roundup of the lowest gas prices in the Wichita area and Kansas, go to www.kansas.com/news/gas-prices.

Bryan Horwath: 316-269-6708, @bryan_horwath

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