Gas prices go up more on Monday

Published 9:15 pm Monday, September 15, 2008

Gas prices rose again on Monday according to AAA estimates.

The Monday average for regular unleaded gasoline in the Birmingham area rose to $4.05, up seven cents from Sunday while Montgomery also increased eight cents to $4.06.

The reason for the increase is because of the effect from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike striking eastern Texas and Louisiana back-to-back.

Jim Wadsworth, owner of Wadsworth Oil in Clanton, said his company has been on allocation since last week, which means they are limited in the amount of fuel they are allowed to buy from gas companies. The biggest problem has been a power outage at the gas pipeline pumping station.

“They couldn’t pump gasoline throughout most of the Southeast because the pipeline was down,” Wadsworth said.

U.S. officials said Sunday that Ike destroyed at least 10 oil and gas platforms and damaged pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico. But that represents only a small portion of the 3,800 production platforms in the Gulf and pales in comparison to the catastrophic damage to energy infrastructure doled out by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita three years ago.

“Fears of widespread refinery damage have been allayed considerably and a number of facilities are coming back up in a timely fashion,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Ill., told the Associated Press.

Still, power outages along the Gulf Coast were slowing efforts to restart some refineries. Meanwhile, virtually all oil production in the Gulf and about 94 percent of natural gas output remained shut-in Monday, according to the U.S. Minerals Management Service.

Wadsworth doesn’t think his company will run out of regular gas, but they could run out of diesel and premium fuel.

“We aren’t able to buy any diesel fuel or premium. There is none available at this time,” he said. “We have a limited supply of diesel, and we may run out at some stations.”

Wadsworth hopes that this situation will return to normal soon.