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Gas prices spike in Tampa Bay in Hurricane Harvey aftermath

By Justine Griffin
The price of regular unleaded gasoline is likely to spike in Tampa Bay in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

Gas prices surged in the wake of Hurricane Harvey Sunday night, with the price on NYMEX spiking 7 percent in overnight trading.

This upward momentum is likely to carry over to prices at the pump in Florida, according to AAA, the Auto Group, which tracks gas prices nationally.

"Hurricane Harvey hit a major supply line for gasoline in Florida and along the eastern seaboard," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a statement. "Multiple refineries and drilling rigs had to be evacuated ahead of the storm, and the Houston Ship Channel was closed.

"There remains a lot of uncertainty in the market," Jenkins continued. "Uncertainty of the extent of the damages, and how long before operations are fully restored. Motorists should expect higher prices this week. It's still early know how much prices will rise, but a minimum of 10-30 cents would not be a surprise."

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Florida was $2.31 on Sunday. The state average is 6 cents more than this time last week. Tampa Bay is among the metro areas in the state with the least expensive averages at $2.29 per gallon. Some of the cheapest gas in the area can be found at Costco Whole in Tampa, where prices are $2.17 per gallon, or the Sunoco on 49th Street South in St. Petersburg, where prices are $2.19 a gallon.

One out of every five barrels of gasoline produced in the U.S. has been threatened by Hurricane Harvey, AAA said. More than a quarter of the U.S. refining capacity in the Gulf of Mexico was offline because of the storm.