Isaac's impact to increase gas prices - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Isaac's impact to increase gas prices

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Experts predict that Hurricane Isaac's impact on the Gulf Coast could send ripple effects in the form of a gas price increase throughout the Labor Day weekend.

While Isaac may not be hitting our coast, the storm is hitting your wallet. With the weather heading towards the Gulf Coast, many refineries are shutting down.

 "There are all sorts of things that can affect gas prices, something like Isaac. Even if you know nothing about gas prices, we can all understand if a hurricane hits there and hits capacity, certainly prices are going to be affected," explains Dr. Robert Salvino, a research economist with CCU.

Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast in general, are known for fuel production. With the threat of the storm, experts say ten percent of the refinery platforms in the area will shut down. Fuel production won't just slow down, many refineries will stop all together.

Even with a percentage of the supply stopping, demand will continue. This will bring higher gas prices to our area, especially over a holiday weekend that already sees a higher demand and higher fuel cost.

"With higher demand, prices automatically go up and in this case there is going to be a reduction in production and in the availability of fuel," says Tracie Lawrence, branch manager of AAA.

On the plus side, South Carolina is still seeing the lowest gas prices in the country.

While the short term effects are shocking, economists say if there is no hit to the refineries and Isaac passes without causing any damage, any effect we're seeing this weekend will wear off quickly.

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