Southeast Feels Pain At The Pump

Hurricane season is not yet over, and we have two other systems to watch out for in the Atlantic. Stay patient, and spend wisely at the pump.

By Taylor Foland

Due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey on southeastern Texas, oil prices have jumped across the southeast in recent days. With the average price of gas being around $2.69, it is unclear when that number will balance out.

Texas produces much of the country’s oil supply. Hurricane Harvey was responsible for freezing one-quarter of the United States’ oil refining capabilities. This is leading to you feeling the pain at the pump.

Port Arthur and Beaumont were the main areas where refineries were affected. Many fuel companies opened right back up in Corpus Christi after Hurricane Harvey rolled through the area.

However, Port Arthur and Beaumont saw the worst of the flooding, besides the area right outside Houston. The flooding has made it difficult for the transport of the raw crude oil to the refineries.

Oil rigs also shut down before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, which halted off-shore drilling. It’s simple supply and demand. Less labor, equals less fuel, less fuel equals higher demand, higher demand equals a rise in prices at the pump.

Hurricane Harvey resulted in the loss of millions of dollars, not only to physical infrastructure, but it also cost the southeast United States in the oil industry.

Then we had Hurricane Irma come through our state, in Florida, and the long lines for gas did not help matters for some people. Some were stuck in lines for over eight hours, fuel shortages were guaranteed to happen, and they did.

As the southeast recovers, fuel prices will decline eventually. Many of the off-shore drilling stations were evacuated and shut down due to Harvey’s projected path which slammed right into Houston.

There was also the closure of the nation’s largest oil refinery, Motiva Enterprises announced on August 30th that they were shutting down their refinery. The production rate of the refinery is 603,000 barrels per day. Hurricane Harvey caused oil companies to lose millions in revenue and those costs have certainly been passed on to us, the consumer.

It will take some time for the southeast to get back to normal. The clean-up process has been underway for several weeks now in the Houston area, families are airing their houses out and rebuilding their lives.

Most refineries are functional, including Exxon, Valero, Citgo Petroleum Corp., and Flint Hills Resources, LLC. The main problem is a lack of personnel, with families still trying to recover from the devastation. Oil prices really depend on how quickly Houston can recover, and that timeline is very fluid.

Texas’ oil sector provides the southeast and the rest of the country with its main supply of oil. The situation in Texas will affect the oil and natural gas business across the nation for several months to come.

Oil is like real estate in this sense: location, location, location; once oil is not being produced in one section of the country, the demand automatically goes up in that specific area for oil. Some oil analysts have stated that they believe that oil prices could rise as much as ten to twenty-five cents east of the Rockies!

Hurricane season is not yet over, and we have two other systems to watch out for in the Atlantic.

Stay patient, and spend wisely at the pump. The more oil workers recover, the more the country will recover, they are the true fuel for our economy, and our country.


Taylor Foland is a Volunteer Coordinator for ACT For America, the nation’s largest grassroots national security group. ACT has over 750,000 members and 1,000 allied volunteers groups across America.