When hurricane Hanna was threatening to disrupt the oil supply from the gulf, gas prices around here rose by 15 cents a gallon. When Hanna passed without any disruption of the oil supply, prices went down 2 cents. Now we have Ike which caused a few oil platforms to temporarily shut down. Gas prices shot up and we have long lines waiting to buy gas. Some stations have a 10 gallon limit.
This is something from our local channel 12 that I cut and pasted. It explains it better than I could.
1. Nothing has changed about the gas supply today.
The Hurricane has not affected any gas that will be pumped into your car this weekend. The oil rigs that are shut down now by the hurricane, won't affect the gas supply for months.
2. Wholesalers are warning retailers to expect major gas price hikes by Friday because of the hurricane.
Because there has still been no change in supply, this is just gas speculation (or profiteering). Prices are going up tonight, but there is no certainty that they will continue to rise into the weekend.
3. There is no gas rationing.
No government or organization has rationed gas. Individual stores may limit how much you can buy or even run out. Some are choosing not to pay for the hiked prices passed their way from wholesalers. They don't want to buy gas at $5.00 today and have to sell it next week for $3.50. They'll just shut down until the panic is over.
4. Panic buying now only rewards the profiteers.
There is enough gas for everyone. The prices will go up only as much as we are willing to pay for it. Unless Hurricane Ike does serious damage to refineries on land, prices should return to normal by next week.
It just seems to me that the oil companies will use any excuse to raise prices but have difficulty lowering them when the crisis is over. I don't think OPEC is entirely to blame.