Local gas prices on the rise thanks to Harvey

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – We’re starting to see the impacts from Harvey here in Hampton Roads through higher fuel prices.

If you’ve been to the pump recently, you may have noticed higher numbers than what you saw last week — even than what you saw yesterday. AAA Tidewater Virginia says gas prices increased by five cents from Wednesday to Thursday.

At the RaceWay on Virginia Beach Boulevard, it’s business as usual, but with a higher price tag.

“I’ve been here 10 years, I’ve never seen it like this fast,” said RaceWay operator Syed Aslam.

He’s not talking about cars. The numbers outside have increased 30 cents since Monday.

Aslam said, “This is going really fast. Thirty cents, we don’t know when it’s going to be stopped.”

Right now, a timeline is still unclear. The water in Houston has to recede first.

“It’s not just that the machinery has to be there, it’s that the people who operate the machinery have to be there,” said Old Dominion University economics Professor Robert McNab. “That’s the big question right now, because we’re still in a rescue phase.”

McNab says gas futures went up when Harvey was approaching, and that increased prices. Until traders believe a recovery is coming, those prices will stay high. That being said, he expects prices to be more normal by the end of September.

“That’s our expectation, and if there’s one thing we learned with Harvey, it’s that expectations can quickly change,” said McNab.

He also says it’s not time to panic. Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia Georjeane Blumling agrees.

“As long as they can get that back up quickly, there should not be a long-term effect,” Blumling said.

AAA is predicting a 15 to 25 cent per gallon increase over a 10-day period. Currently, the average about is $2.24 per gallon. This time last year, it was about $2. Right now, 30 gallons of gas will cost you about $7 more.

The Department of Energy reports that 10 Gulf Coast refineries are shut down. Six have started assessing damage.

You can check gas prices here.