Sweeping gas shortages are hitting Louisiana’s major cities after Hurricane Ida tore through the state, knocking electricity out, flooding neighborhoods and halting crucial oil production operations.
As of 8 p.m. ET, 46.9 percent of gas stations were running dry in Baton Rouge, according to data from GasBuddy, and 44.3 percent of stations in New Orleans were out.
But those figures don’t include gas stations that can’t service customers because they had their power knocked out, so the share of stations able to provide gas is probably even lower.
“Not liking how this is looking,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a tweet late Tuesday.
Outages were less common in other cities, according to GasBuddy data from Tuesday evening, the latest available.
The impact from the storm on fuel transportation and oil production is expected to send prices higher in some parts of the country, including Florida, experts have said.
Gas prices have ticked up slightly since Sunday from $2.81 to $2.84, according to prices tracked by the American Automobile Association.
That’s likely due to panic buying from before the storm, according to AAA, which said that as demand drops amid road closures and power outages, prices will drop.
About two days after Hurricane Ida made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, nearly all of the Gulf Coast’s oil production operations are still offline and many refineries are still shut down.
Refineries in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama make up more than 45 percent of the country’s capacity for refining crude oil into gasoline. And the region is home to almost 2,000 offshore oil platforms, accounting for 17 percent of the nation’s crude oil production.
“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,” Jeanette McGee, a AAA spokesperson, said earlier this week.
“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.”
The US Department of Energy on Tuesday said that power outages would likely lead to retail gas station shortages, but the refinery and production closures are not expected to cause “immediate supply issues.”
It’s difficult to say what the impact on gas prices in the area will be as the potential damage to processing facilities in the area is still being assessed, according to Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for AAA Northeast, which covers New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
The Empire State is fairly insulated as the Northeast imports a lot of fuel into the New York Harbor, he told The Post. But if operations in the Louisiana area are down for a long time or if there are more major hurricanes coming soon, prices could start to rise, he added.
After Katrina in 2005, the average gas price in New York City went from $2.75 to $3.37. New Jersey and Long Island saw even larger increases, he said, noting that hurricane wreaked more damage on oil operations.