Hurricane Harvey and high demand over the Labor Day weekend have pushed gas prices to levels not seen in the Twin Cities for two years.
On Friday, gas prices in Minnesota hit $2.41, 11 cents below the national average. They’ll climb another 10 cents a gallon this weekend, said Gail Weinholzer, director of public affairs for AAA in Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota. Ten days ago, gas in the Twin Cities was $2.27 a gallon.
What drivers won’t have to worry about is a shortage of fuel, she said.
"But we do have two things that have a negative impact on prices,” she said. “Prices go up around the major holidays, and to prevent damage to refineries and pipelines because of Hurricane Harvey.”
Weinholzer expects the petroleum industry in southern Texas to be back online within the next week. And after Labor Day, drivers should see a gradual decline in gas prices.
“Unfortunately for drivers in Houston and the surrounding areas impacted by the hurricane, they will be dealing with issues for months, if not years,” she said.
Long lines could pop up next in the Southeast and East, which get much of their gasoline from the Colonial Pipeline that taps into refineries in Texas and Louisiana. The operator doesn’t expect the pipeline to resume normal operations until Sunday. On top of that, analysts said some gasoline from the Northeast is being diverted to Florida, and gasoline exports are contributing to the higher prices.