ORLANDO, Fla. – The severe weather that hit the country a few days ago isn’t just causing flight delays, but among the issues are the power outages in Texas affecting how much consumers are paying at the gas pump.
“The effect that this winter weather has had on this region is very similar to what you would normally see during a hurricane because we’ve got refinery’s right now without power and others working on limited power,” Mark Jenkins, a spokesperson with AAA said.
Jenkins said Florida relies on that gasoline produced in the lone star state. So, whenever their refineries are affected, consumers pay a higher price.
“There’s also an impact on many of the terminals along the ports where ships would typically fill up with gasoline and bring them over here to Florida,” Jenkins said.
According to the fuel-saving app Gasbuddy, and the Oil Price Information Service, the refinery outages have removed about 20%, of the nation’s oil refining capacity.
Jenkins said right now, consumers are paying 20 cents more than what they paid last year--meaning it’s costing an extra 3 dollars to fill up an average 15-gallon tank.
“The average price right now in Orlando is 2.59 cents and that’s up about 13 cents from this time last week. So, we’ve definitely seen a pretty significant increase there,” Jenkins explained. “You tend to see gas prices increase in the Springtime and in the Summer and then the prices begin to back down a little bit in the Fall and Winter months. A lot of that is because people are driving during the spring and summer months. Also, refineries are entering into a season when they’re switching over to summer-blend gasoline which is more expensive to produce.”
According to AAA, the refineries also go into maintenance around this time of the year--which usually impacts the market price.
“There’s certainly a chance that we could see gas prices begin to take lower after the weather moves out of the area but that really all hinges on the refinery’s ability to get back up and running once the weather leaves the area,” he said.