Speed Reads

hurricane harvey

Gas prices are up 18 cents as Harvey suspends 16 percent of U.S. refining capacity

Retail gasoline prices in the United States are up an average of 18 cents since Aug. 23, two days before Hurricane Harvey made landfall in refinery-heavy East Texas and Louisiana.

The Department of Energy (DOE) reports 10 refineries, together accounting for about 16 percent of the nation's daily refinery capacity, have suspended operations because of the storm and resultant flooding, temporarily eliminating 4.4 million barrels of daily oil production. The largest refinery in the United States is among them and is expected to be closed for two weeks.

To ameliorate some of the disruption, the DOE has sent 1 million barrels of crude oil, borrowed from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to a refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The refinery will replace the oil in the reserve after Harvey-related chaos subsides. European refiners are also working to fill the short-term production gap.