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Do Hurricanes Impact Gas Prices? Laws Limit Price Gouging

2:14 PM, Oct 10, 2018

Contributors

Chloe Nordquist

Preparing for hurricanes means stocking up on gas. As Hurricane Michael slams into Florida’s panhandle, we began to wonder how the storm might impact our state’s gas prices.

But will this impact gas prices in Southwest Florida? The short answer, no.

Do Hurricanes Impact Gas Prices? Laws Limit Price Gouging

The state of Florida has a “price gouging” law that was created after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. After the governor declares a state of emergency, that sets limits on how much retailers can increase gas prices.

If prices go up a lot compared to prices 30 days prior to the storm, that is considered price gouging. However, that’s not the case if sellers can prove there’s been an increase in a barrel of crude oil.

“Oil prices have been on the rise over the last month, rising from the $70 dollar value, late September into early October peaking at $77, this has kept gas prices firm,” Eugene Graner, President of website Heartland Invest said.

Triple A’s latest release said Florida is the only state in the country to stay stable with gas prices averaging around $2.80/gallon.

It hasn’t jumped around a lot here. Southwest Florida prices are around $2.74/gallon and because of the price gouging law it should stay that way.

Twenty-five percent of gas comes from refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Michel rolled through east of those, so there won’t be an impact there.
Some of the Gulf rigs that drill for crude oil have stopped production.

“That oil is for future supplies, and we do have plenty of inventory of oil from the refineries to produce,” Graner said.

We shouldn’t see a spike in gas prices because of this hurricane, and if you do you should report it to the Attorney General’s office online , or by calling the price gouging hotline at 1-866-966-7226.

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