DETROIT (WWJ) – Don’t be surprised if you see a spike in gas prices soon. The likelihood of East Coast refineries closing ahead of Hurricane Irene is already pushing up gasoline prices. Friday morning, the average price of gas in Metro Detroit was around $3.80 per gallon.
As in the past with pending natural disasters, refineries take a precautionary approach by shutting down. Several east coast refineries are likely to close in advance of Hurricane Irene.
Ben Brockwell at the Oil Price Information Service said even if the storm eventually misses the refineries, they can’t take chances. It takes several days for a refinery to start operations after a shut down and it could take up to a month to resume operations.
WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas was checking pump prices in the Detroit area when she ran into Gina Cuttler of Ferndale. Cuttler said she was petrified by the price of petroleum after seeing how much it cost to fill up her mini van.
“You know, I really thought it was $3.40 or $3.50 up here but I don’t know where I’ve been living, it’s $3.85. It’s terrible, but what can we do? There’s nothing. Either you stay home or get a horse and buggy. That’s about it.”
John Douglas of Royal Oak is leaving his gas-guzzling SUV in the garage and breaking out his VW Beetle because of the price jump.
“I’m down to $240 a month in gas, I was paying $600.”
But while some may be caught off guard by the pumped up price of fuel, one motorist knew it was coming.
“It happened only a handful of years ago with Katrina, so I expected it.”
Gas Futures rose on Thursday by two percent. Shut downs of more than a few days would put serious pressure on fuel supplies and prices.
Three years ago, pump prices jumped 21 cents a gallon in just eight days as Hurricane Ike swept through the Gulf of Mexico.
Meantime, some southern and east coast bound flights from Detroit Metro Airport have been cancelled this weekend. (Read More Here)
– Get the latest news on Hurricane Irene from CBS News at this link –