Isaac affects Gulf oil supply

Published On: Aug 27 2012 05:48:57 PM EDT
Gas pump
DETROIT -

Michigan drivers, if you're not keeping an eye on the storm in the Gulf of Mexico, you probably should be.

Isaac is already affecting gas prices and it could get worse before it gets better.

Gas prices will go up no matter what happens, but there are a few variables that could affect how much and for how long. Here's a snap shot of where prices stand right now. AAA Michigan says the state average is $3.93 a gallon, 14 cents higher than last year.

"The gas prices are ridiculous. I can't imagine them much higher," one customer told Ruth to the Rescue while filling up at a Dearborn station.

Law of supply and demand

The Gulf region accounts for 25 percent of the nation's oil supply. Oil rigs have already been closed as workers were evacuated for their own safety. Nancy Cain of AAA Michigan says that move is already cutting capacity and raising prices. Plus, things could get worse depending on the strength and direction of the storm.

"If it hits right in the oil refineries area, you could anticipate that we will be paying higher prices," said Cain.

What to watch for

As you follow the storm coverage, be on the lookout for damage to refineries or pipelines, as that will impact what you pay at the pump.Cain says the severity of damage will determine how long the storm-related price surge will last.

"If the refineries are severely damaged its going to take them longer to get back on track- than if there's minor damage," according to Nancy Cain of AAA Michigan.

So, if you're tank is running low, you might want to head to the gas station.

"Right now, today, if you haven't filled up, fill up today when you see a good price fill up!" Cain advised. Then, she says make that tank last as long as possible. She says do conserve gasoline- you should keep your car in good working order, drive steadily, avoid those stops and starts that waste fuel.

Labor Day travel

Cain also tells us the storm should not affect labor day travel here in Michigan. She says most drivers say they're already accounted for higher gas prices, and will spend less money on other things like meals and souvenirs.

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