Prospects of refinery run cuts, or even refinery damage, caused by Hurricane Lili has caused Gulf Coast diesel and gasoline prices to soar, Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) reported today.
Lili, which has been classified as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane by the National Weather Service, is expected to hit the Texas and Louisiana coast by Thursday morning. A Category 4 hurricane packs sustained winds over 131 mph with a storm surge of 13 to 18 feet above normal, and low-lying escape routes are often covered with water three to five hours before the storm hits.
OPIS said prices have soared as much as 10 cents a gallon for gasoline and five cents for diesel fuel in the past week.
According to OPIS, suppliers say that there is pressure from some states regarding price increases that might be perceived as gouging, particularly since the hikes are tied to an event like Hurricane Lili. A number of Gulf Coast states are putting pressure on suppliers and marketers to keep price increases to a minimum, OPIS reports.
About 330,000 people in Texas' Jefferson and Oranges counties were told to evacuate early Wednesday after a tidal surge of more than nine feet pounded the surf. Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster has already declared a state of emergency, less than a week after Tropical Storm Isidore blew through the region.