Hurricane season, summer travel impact gas prices

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Hurricane season and summer travel is keeping the price of gas from going down, according to industry experts.

The heat, especially long periods over 100 degrees, can prevent refineries from operating at 100%. But the heat is not affecting Coastal Bend refineries. 

Oil Price Information Service Global Head of Energy Analysis Tom Kloza said Coastal Bend refineries are better prepared with more cooling towers than refineries in other areas.

“There’s refineries in Galveston Bay, Port Arthur, Baton Rouge, Beaumont, and they’re all operating at less than 100 percent. And given the profit potential right now for gasoline and diesel, they’d like to be running those things at over 100% right now,” he said.

But strong demand and the threat of hurricanes will likely keep prices up.

“So you probably have some of the companies and their trading divisions are very reticent to give up gasoline or give up diesel or jet fuel, you know, for fear that there could be a spiraling storm in the Gulf of Mexico sometime in the next 60 days,” he said.

AAA Texas’ Daniel Armbruster said the jump we’ve seen in gas prices has gone down in just the last few weeks.

“It’s $81. West Texas Intermediate is today, at the beginning of June, that price was around $67 a barrel. So prices for oil have gone up. And when you break down a gallon of gas crude oil makes up about 50 percent of the cost of that gallon of gas. “we saw record prices in June, the record   was 459 on June 13. in Corpus Christi, officially,” he said.

But that price has dropped to Tuesday’s daily average of $.341 a gallon. Kloza said as for intense heat, refineries in our area are built for higher temperatures.

“Every refinery has cooling towers,” he said. “And in Texas, they’re built, you know, so that you have a couple of days close to 100. They’re gonna cool off the towers and so forth. But you know what, I have 15 days in a row or a period of intensity like you’ve had it. It’s no coincidence that places like Big Spring and El Paso have had some of the problems so, but this too shall pass.”

Both men said they expect gas prices to drop substantially when the summer driving season is over. 

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