Whoa! What is going on with the gas price spikes for Maryland residents? Is Hurricane Harvey responsible?

In my daily travels of late in Montgomery County, Maryland -- post-Harvey the Hurricane’s visit to Houston and Southeastern part of Texas -- I have noticed that prices at the gas pump in Montgomery County have gone up by 10 percent or more since Harvey hit Texas as a Category 4 Hurricane. That is a considerable gas price spike for those that keep an eye on gas prices on a weekly basis like I do. The price of gas in Montgomery County has risen from $2.24 a gallon for regular unleaded to $2.75 a gallon of regular unleaded, as of my most recent purchase. As a first-hand witness, I have driven to my local Sunoco and actually spent money to buy at a higher price. Fortunately, I was able to shave 20 cents off that higher price thanks to my supermarket gas discounts. For those driving Tesla vehicles or other electric vehicles that do not rely on gasoline or diesel to drive this is a moot point for you. For the gas-electric hybrid vehicle, it might work out in your favor the longer you can run on the electric side without having to pay for gas. In my case however, a six cylinder compact car is still at the mercy of the price fluctuations of the consumer market for my weekly consumption of regular unleaded gasoline.

Why does Harvey matter for Maryland's gas prices?

Hurricane Harvey has had a direct and destructive impact on not only Houston, but also on other cities in Texas and Louisiana. Yet a trickle down effect in terms of cost associate with that area of the country and industry that affects the United States in the form of Gas and Oil refineries can be noticeable. The question concerning Hurricane Harvey’s impact is this: How much will much of a price spike will really start affecting consumers, budget-wise here in Montgomery County and statewide? According to Gasbuddy, the average gas price for the state of Maryland is $2.74 a gallon. [caption id="attachment_3598" align="aligncenter" width="709"]Gas Price Spikes GasBuddy quote.[/caption] I can tell you that before Harvey hit Houston, Texas and neighboring cities and states with a water-filled wallop, I was able to use my Safeway Card or Giant Food card discount and get an affordable fill-up for around $2 per gallon of regular unleaded gas. Now, I am happy to just save 20 to 30 cents on my with my Supermarket gas discounts from Safeway or Giant Food without being able to gloat that I once, on a regular basis mind you, was looking at under $2 per gallon. Hey, when you live to save at every turn like I do as a frugal shopper with all the smartphone apps willing to help one save, why not do it.

Where do gas prices go from here?

I can only hope that people in Houston and other Harvey hit areas can get back on their feet and get refineries that were put out of commission by a Category 4 Hurricane back on line, soon. As floodwaters from Houston and outlying areas outside of Texas start to recede, hopefully the price of gas in Maryland will do as well. Yes, it is officially Atlantic Hurricane season, none of us can deny that fact. We can only hope that the newly formed Hurricane Irma that is barreling toward the lower part of the Continental U.S., outlying U.S. territories and Caribbean islands does not negatively affect our economy any more than it has. There is no need for Hurricane Irma to pile on the negative consequences after Hurricane Harvey's wrath. The price for basic foodstuff and resources that all American’s need, regularly, does not need to recede the money in our wallets any more than it already has thanks to devastating hurricanes. The better for all of us gas consumers here in Maryland, the sooner that key oil refineries and pipelines in hard hit areas of Texas get back online.

Can future legislation concerning hurricane costs protect consumers?

Natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes do occur, but at what cost to all? There must be some way that the enacting of specific government policies could keep gas prices and other commodities from spiking nationwide based on natural disasters. And especially ones that affect only specific parts of the Continental U.S. and U.S territories. What do you think? Will gas prices spike higher or start to recede in Maryland, post-Hurricane Harvey? What legislation at a state or federal level needs enacting to better protect consumers from costly hurricane disasters? Post your comments below.

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