South Florida drivers react to rising gas prices after Harvey

NORTH BAY VILLAGE, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida is expected to see a rise in gas prices state-wide due to Harvey’s impact in Texas.

The average cost of gas in Florida, as of Monday, is $2.31 per gallon, but experts expect an increase this week.

How much of an increase? Experts said as much as 25 cents per gallon.

At the Shell station in North Bay Village, one driver said he is taking advantage of the current prices to fill up his car. “I’m going to fill up now while we can, I guess, and hope for the best,” said Alex Turner.

Another Shell customer said he is aware of a price hike in Broward County. “I was talking to a friend of mine this morning,” said Piers Fleming. “He said, ‘Hey, what’s going on with the prices up here in Fort Lauderdale? It’s like $3.10 or something like that, and it was something like high $2s in Miami.'”

According to AAA, Harvey hit a major gasoline supply line that Florida uses, while multiple refineries and drilling rigs were evacuated before the storm made landfall. In addition, the Houston ship channel was closed.

Speaking with 7News on Skype, AAA spokesperson Mark Jenkins said Wall Street is already feeling the effects. “When the market opened, gas prices on the wholesale end were really volatile,” he said. “We’re expecting that to cause gas prices on the retail side to increase.”

While South Florida drivers are worried, Chris Michaels said he, personally, may not experience much of a difference. “Unless gas goes up to $3 a gallon, I really won’t feel the effects of it,” he said, “but it’s a little worrisome.”

Fleming added that he’s surprised gas prices are affecting Floridians even though Harvey went through Texas. “I feel bad for all of the people in Houston,” he said.

Experts said that one out of five barrels of gasoline produced in the U.S has been threatened by Harvey.

On Monday, not only drivers were affected, but more than 1,400 flight cancellations were reported across the U.S.

As of Tuesday morning, five flights out of Houston that were expected to land at Miami International Airport were canceled, along with 11 out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

At Port Everglades, officials said they are still receiving petroleum shipments, but they are keeping an eye on the ever-changing situation. Eighty percent of the petroleum that comes into the port is domestic, and Texas is a main contributor.

“It’s a matter of supply and demand here,” said driver Sam Zamacona. “There’s no supply to pay for the prices, unfortunately. We have to fill up when we have to fill up, so we have no options.”

AAA officials said they expect to see an additional gas price increase in South Florida if the refineries affected by the storm remain closed for an extended period of time.

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