Expect gas prices to rise this holiday weekend

The annual Labor Day price hike is worse because of Hurricane Harvey.

A gallon of gas at the Gulf station on Harlem Road was $2.59 on September 1st. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
A gallon of gas at the Gulf station on Harlem Road was $2.59 on September 1st. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. – If you’ve driven around Town the last few days, you’ve probably already noticed the price at the pump is heading up. 

On Friday, the average price for a gallon of regular gas is $2.52 according to AAA. That’s a ten cent increase from last week. Experts are saying to expect the price to rise even further through the holiday weekend. 

A quick search of gas price headlines over the past few years shows that typically, the price to fill up the tank goes a bit up around Labor Day (due to higher demand) then heads back down after the holiday weekend. 

This year, there is the added issue of Hurricane Harvey.

“In recent days, convenience stores have experienced supplier price increases totaling 30 to 50 cents a gallon,” said Jim Calvin, President of the New York Association of Convenience Stores.

Due to the floods from Harvey, the two largest refineries in the U.S. are offline. There are other issues, including pipelines that are shut down.

The Convenience Store Association explains why you may see higher prices before the new shipments even arrive to your neighborhood station. “With prices moving higher, a 15-gallon fill-up is painful for the consumer,” said Calvin. “Imagine buying 10,000 gallons at a time. The next load is coming tomorrow, 20 percent more expensive than the last one, and we need to pay for it before they put it in our underground tanks. We need to generate sufficient cash from current sales to cover the higher priced product that will replace the inventory we’re selling. Otherwise, we’d be constantly using debt to finance wholesale gasoline purchases.

Analysts expect prices to go up another 20 or 30 cents more. Then prices should level off as the oil infrastructure gets back online. It’s expected the largest refinery in the country should get back online in a couple weeks. The second largest refinery should be back to producing gas in about a month.