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Gas prices expected to rise

As major refineries in Texas remain closed due to Hurricane Harvey flooding, gas prices across Alabama are expected to rise slightly more next week, AAA of Alabama Public Relations and Marketing Manager Clay Ingram said.

Ingram predicts that gas prices should start coming down in the second half of September as refinery and pipeline operations return to normal, which he expects to be over the course of the next week or so.

The average prices for Alabama have gone from $2.09 last week to $2.30 this week.

Ingram said that the average price of gas in Alabama should not go over $2.50 at any point.

Ingram also encourages the people of Alabama to avoid panic buying.

“Panic buying is the worst thing we can do,” Ingram said. “There is plenty of gasoline available for shipment as soon as they get power restored to the affected areas. In the meantime, we just need to buy as little gas as possible.”

Ingram said that panic buying could cause some gas stations to run out of fuel when they would not have run out otherwise.

Gov. Kay Ivey has declared a State of Emergency to prevent price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

About 20-25 percent of the United States refining capacity remains offline, and the refineries are waiting for the flood waters to recede to resume business.

Harvey knocked out at least 10 refineries with the catastrophic rains and flooding.

Those who were filling up at Andalusia pumps Friday said they were not concerned with the rising gas prices.

Comparatively, in the days before Hurricane Ike made landfall in 2008, U.S. Gulf gasoline prices spiked greatly, reaching a peak of $204 per barrel, or $4.85 per gallon.

A week before Hurricane Gustav hit in 2008 or about three weeks prior to Ike, gas prices were about $120 per barrel or $2.85 per gallon.