NEW ORLEANS --- With Hurricane Ike approaching the U.S. Gulf Coast, wholesale gasoline in the region jumped 12 percent today, Bloomberg reported. That's the biggest increase in nearly three years.
Gasoline for sale at Gulf Coast terminals rose 25.39 cents to $3.30 a gallon at 2:41 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was the largest one-day increase since Sept. 27, 2005, when Hurricane Rita slammed into coastal refineries and spurred an 18 percent surge in the price for the fuel.
About 60 percent of Gulf Coast refining capacity remained shut or operating at reduced rates today, one week after Hurricane Gustav slammed the coast of Louisiana, Bloomberg reported.
Gasoline rose because of closures associated with Gustav "and now the potential that Ike is going to shut down refiners,'' Andy Lipow, president of Houston-based Lipow Oil Associates LLC, told Bloomberg.
Four oil-processing plants were idle as of 10 a.m. Eastern time, and 14 were in the process or restarting output or operating at below-normal rates.
Ike is expected to reach the coast of Texas or Louisiana in about five days.