Colorado drivers planning a Labor Day weekend road trip will likely see a small bump in gas prices, as the ripple effect of Hurricane Harvey spreads across the country this week.
With a quarter of the Gulf Coast’s oil refining capacity offline, gas prices around the nation have risen sharply since the hurricane hit. Prices in Colorado have remained steady so far, but could rise as much as 10 cents, GasBuddy petroleum analyst Allison Mac said.
The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Colorado Monday was $2.332, compared with $2.328 last week, according to AAA data. Nationwide, a gallon of regular jumped to $2.368 per gallon, compared with an average of $2.334 last week.
“In the next two weeks prices in Denver will probably rise as much as 10 cents a gallon,” Mac said. “During this time of year prices should be going down since we’re leaving the summer season.”
Gas prices are typically higher in summer, because retailers must sell a more costly, cleaner-burning summer blend, Mac said.
Gas prices typically start to fall by this time of year, but Hurricane Harvey could briefly disrupt this trend. Any price increases in Colorado should be short-lived, however. Colorado gets the majority of its gas from refineries in Colorado and Wyoming — not Texas.
How quickly refineries get back up and running and the damage to infrastructure caused by the storm will determine the extent of gas price increases, AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley said.
Colorado could feel the effects of the hurricane more strongly if fuel typically routed to the state is sent to Texas or other affected areas instead.
“There will be ripple effects if gas is routed from Colorado to Texas,” McKinley said. “As for you going to the pump today and it being $2.33, and tomorrow it being $2.50? It’s unlikely.”
McKinley said gas prices are also likely to rise due to an increase in demand over Labor Day weekend.