(CNBC) After jumping 15 percent in just over two weeks, gasoline prices at the pump appear to be peaking nationally and could soon start to drop.
The last effects of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on gasoline prices was still being felt across the U.S. this weekend, and for Florida residents, Hurricane Irma compounded the situation by creating fuel shortages.
Barring another major hurricane in the Gulf Coast, analysts say prices should soon start to drop back to the $2.30 to $2.35 per gallon range where they were before Harvey slammed into Texas, sending flood waters into the heart of the U.S. refining industry. At its height, 27 percent of U.S. refining capacity was offline, compared with an estimated 4.5 percent that is still impaired.
The average price at the pump for unleaded gasoline Monday was $2.67 per gallon, according to AAA.
Irma, which rumbled along the Florida coast Sunday and Monday, has left gasoline in short supply in the southeastern state. But those shortages are expected to be temporary as offshore shipments move into Florida’s ports.
“They’re going to have gas to some of these stations in a couple of hours,” said John Kilduff, energy analyst with Again Capital. Based on reports from Florida’s key Tampa Bay port, gasoline supplies should begin moving on to trucks later Monday.
Harvey sent prices flying in many parts of the country, as supplies were cut, forcing key pipelines to run at reduced capacity because of shortages. But those problems are easing, as repairs have been made and supplies restored….