Bad weather forces Texas refineries to shut down, resulting in rising gas prices and frustrated drivers

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 10:50 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gas prices are on the rise across North-Central Florida, and that means you will be paying more when you go to fill up.

“A lot of what we have seen in the last 5 to 7 days and what we will see in the next 5 to 7 days is attributable to what is going on in Texas,” said Head Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy Patrick De Haan. “Extremely cold temperatures last week shut down 20 percent of the nation’s refining capacity, which is significant.”

With so much capacity offline, drivers are paying the price. AAA reports in the Gainesville market, prices jumped 13 cents, and in Ocala, 17 cents in just one week.

“The national average posting its largest weekly rise since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. It may not get better anytime soon,” according to De Haan.

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He explains this rise in price doesn’t have anything to do with the “XL Pipeline” because it wasn’t in use yet. Drivers who are frustrated with the price increase said they still need to get to work.

“It is ridiculous. I really don’t want to drive anymore. We have to do it, so we have to live on,” said Chevaughn Stewart of Gainesville.

He believes everything revolves around being in the car, which requires gas.

“For you to be mobile, you have to drive. For you to go to work, you have to drive. For you to get money, you have to drive. Everything you do, you have to drive. I think something needs to be done.”

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Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA, said drivers should price shop to ensure they are getting the best deal.

“You tend to find the most expensive gas prices near interstate ramps, airports, theme parks, attractions, things like that because there is more traffic there.”

According to Jenkins, fuel prices usually increase as we head into the spring and summer months.

“What happened with refiners last week expedited that gas price hike that you would expect to see as a result of that refinery switch to summer-blend gasoline and the required maintenance period.”

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He said since the beginning of 2021 gas prices have increased about 41 cents per gallon. According to Jenkins, these are the highest gas prices since July 2019.

To find out the average gas prices in North-Central Florida and across the state, click here. If you would like to see real-time gas prices in North-Central Florida and across the state, click here.

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