Gas Prices Expected To Spike Following Hurricane Harvey Flooding

ARKANSAS (KFSM) -- If you're sitting on an empty tank, better head to the pump soon.

Hurricane Harvey's barrage on southeast Texas is expected to drive up gas prices across the United States, according to a AAA report.

About one fourth of the oil oil refining capacity along the Gulf Coast has been shut down, according to an estimate from the Oil Price Information Service. Gas prices have already risen an average of 4 cents a gallon in the last week -- the largest one-week spike this summer.

“Despite the country’s overall oil and gasoline inventories being at or above 5-year highs, until there is clear picture of damage and an idea when refineries can return to full operational status, gas prices will continue to increase," said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson, in the report.

Arkansas has one of the lowest average gas prices around the nation at $2.12 a gallon for regular unleaded.

Currently gas prices in Fort Smith are averaging about $2.05, and Springdale/Fayetteville/Rogers prices are sitting at about $2.09.

Some drivers are concerned with how this increase will affect them.

The increase is expected to be anywhere from 20 to 80 cents per gallon.

For full-time students and employees like Natalie Sims, this increase will be a bit hit.

“Adding an additional $15 a week on gas, because I’ll go through a tank of gas every week," Sims said. "So that’s substantial, that adds up. It’s like having another utility bill almost.”

Sims lives in Fayetteville, but works in Springdale.

She said now she will look at alternative ways to get to class so she can save her gas for traveling to work.

Some said they have already seen this spike in Arkansas.

Manny Hardaway lives in Eureka Springs, but travels to the Springdale area twice a week.

He explained he has visited one gas station that already increased their prices drastically.

“It seems like at that same gas station last week, I paid $2.07," Hardaway said. "Yesterday when I stopped it was $2.42 a gallon.”

He hoped Harvey would not affect his day to day routine and doesn't mind a small increase.

Hardaway called what some stations are doing is price gouging and taking advantage of this natural disaster.

One gas station in Springdale told 5NEWS that they are not sure what will happen with prices in the area.

They do expect it to increase and said they already saw it jump 7 cents over the weekend.