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    US Gasoline Prices Likely to Stay High for Months After Hurricane - Wall Street

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    The impact of Hurricane Harvey on Texas oil refineries has pushed US gasoline prices at the pump to their highest level in two years and they are likely to stay high for months, Wall Street analyst and Trends Research Institute head Gerald Celente told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Floods generated by the hurricane forced the shutdown of oil refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast on Wednesday, including the Saudi-owned Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, the largest in the United States. Roughly 25 percent of all oil refining capacity across the United States was shut down, at least temporarily.

    "With Harvey knocking out almost a quarter of US refineries including the largest refinery in the United States, gasoline prices spiked to $2 a gallon, the highest price since 2015," Celente said.

    The price rise reflected the concentration of so much of the US oil refining industry in the state of Texas, where it was hit hard by the record-setting hurricane.

    "It will take several months for production to return to pre-Harvey levels," Celente said.

    The price hike in gasoline at the pump would continue despite the global surplus in crude oil, Celente predicted.

    "While the peak summer driving season is ending, still, an increase in higher gasoline prices in the SUV low-mileage dominant car culture USA," he said.

    Those prices would increase the overall strain on the US economy because so-many car-dependent families and individuals were either under-employed or unemployed and therefore ill equipped to take more increased financial strain on their living budgets, Celente explained.

    "The higher prices will put more strain on a cash-strapped society of which 78 percent are living paycheck-to-paycheck," he said.

    Crude prices have fallen basically for two reasons, Celente observed.

    "The global reality of too much supply and not enough demand persists, but now with so many US refineries closed down there is a slump in demand, thus pushing down crude prices over past few days," he said.

    At least major 15 refineries were reported going off line across Texas on Wednesday from Corpus Christi to Port Arthur, the US Department of Energy announced.

    According to published reports, the US oil industry continues to suffer from bottlenecks caused by insufficient overall refining capacity.

    The oil refining crisis and its impact on national US gasoline prices is already having an impact on national politics in the United States.

    On Wednesday, US Senator Ed Markey called on President Donald Trump to act immediately to reduce rocketing domestic gasoline costs by using crude oil and refined fuels from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve.


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