When Hurricane Harvey hit in early September, people across the country, including those in Hillsdale, felt its effects at the gas pump as the national average increased.
With Harvey’s effects in full swing, Michigan’s gas prices rose 10 cents a gallon within a week, while the national average rose 25 cents a gallon, according to statistics posted on Gasbuddy.com.
Millions of barrels with refining capacity were lost due to the storm, and roughly 13 percent of the nation’s oil reserves were affected, according to CNN Money.
Businessinsider.com reported that hundreds of complaints were filed, accusing Texas gas retailers in affected areas of price-gouging.
“Price-gouging is a negative connotation; they’re just responding to the cost of loss. If you know your supplier is going to be hit by the hurricane, it adds an element of uncertainty, which in turn causes you to raise the price slightly. Once you know it’s going to be hit, then it adds extra cost that makes you spike the price higher,” senior economics major Brendan Noble said. “There’s no incentive to bring extra goods in if there’s no added price because you’re taking a risk in bringing in goods.”
In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder responded to the crisis by declaring an energy emergency on Aug. 31.
“This executive order will help ensure there are no artificial shortages of fuel impacting the state’s residents or visitors,” Snyder said in a statement.
Ibrahim Al Arshi, an employee at the Marathon on West Carleton Road in Hillsdale said he agreed that gas prices had increased due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey.
“When the gas prices went up, I actually asked the salesman from the company if it was from the hurricanes. They said it probably wasn’t, but I definitely think the first hurricane affected the price,” Al Arshi said.
Luckily, prices seem to be going down.
“The prices should fall and not get any higher now. $2.70 was the highest we were told to raise it during those weeks,” Al Arshi said.
Hillsdale residents, however, said they are still feeling the effect of higher gas prices. “It was in June that the prices started going up. It got worse this September though, maybe because of that,” resident Kathran Eagle said. “The prices weren’t too bad last year. I might say this was the worst year yet.”