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Americans Could Feel Ida’s Impact At The Gas Pump

Out of order notes are left on gas pumps to warn motorists of outages Hollywood, Calif. on May 12, 2021, immediately after the Colonial Pipeline shutdown. Two of its lines were temporarily shut down ahead of Hurricane Ida this weekend.

Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images


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Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Americans Could Feel Ida's Impact At The Gas Pump

Out of order notes are left on gas pumps to warn motorists of outages Hollywood, Calif. on May 12, 2021, immediately after the Colonial Pipeline shutdown. Two of its lines were temporarily shut down ahead of Hurricane Ida this weekend.

Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of people are without power in Louisiana and Mississippi, and outages could last for more than a month in parts of the region.

While the damage is most acute there, motorists across the U.S. could feel some effects of the storm when they go to fill up their tanks in the days ahead.

Ida likely took some 13% of U.S. refining capacity offline, AAA estimates: There were nine oil refineries in its path, and at least four preemptively paused their operations.

“Until the power is restored, it’s too early to know the full impact of any damage Ida caused on the oil and gas industry, but motorists regionally can expect price fluctuations leading into Labor Day weekend,” said AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee said in a release. “Typically, a Category 4 storm could mean three plus weeks before refineries are back to normal operations, while offshore production is more likely to resume this week.”

Colonial Pipeline — which memorably shut down in May after a ransomware attack — shut down two lines that run from Houston to Greensboro, N.C., before the storm, and said it would restore full service after an infrastructure inspection.

“Gas prices nationally, especially in the Southeast and East Coast, will see minimal impact at the pump if the pipeline is down for a matter of hours versus days,” AAA added.

AAA is also expecting a reduction in demand immediately following the storm, because of power outages and road closures. Louisiana officials are asking people to avoid unnecessary travel as recovery efforts and damage assessments begin.

This story originally appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.

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