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Do you think Hurricane Katrina will raise gas prices?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on August 30, 2005

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Photo of Doug Redding

“Yes I do, but I think they will come down after Labor Day as they tend to. At least that is my hope.”

Photo of Mark Huebner

“I would anticipate that happening quite easily. I don’t think people think about natural disasters contributing to the rising prices, but I think this one will.”

Photo of Jenny Cook

“Maybe a little bit, but I think they were going to go up anyway.”

Photo of Charles Weinaug

“Yes. It might go up, but I’m sure that the people who are affected by the hurricane will work as hard as they can to make sure the gas gets to the people, because they are part of the people.”


gccs14r 12 years, 8 months ago

Wholesale prices jumped to follow crude futures, so it's just a matter of days, if not hours, before we're further gouged at the pumps.

enochville 12 years, 8 months ago

Yes. The price per barrel of crude oil has already gone up, so the price at the pump will soon. I imagine everyone is going to say yes to this question.

lunacydetector 12 years, 8 months ago

i thought the war in iraq was supposed to bring cheaper gas prices.

according to a gas station clerk i overheard, gas prices will spike upwards 20-30 cents per gallon starting today. i don't know if this will be true but i do know the clerk has a master's degree.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 12 years, 8 months ago

What a country! Anyone who is willing can get an education, and then work for minimum wage.

average 12 years, 8 months ago

Hurricanes happen every year, we're just stretched on oil in general.

Worldwide, we've pumped more oil out of the ground than we've found by exploration for close to 30 years now... this spread keeps getting wider... eventually there has to be a reckoning to this.

In 1972, the US domestically produced as much oil as it ever did. Even opening Alaska didn't help overall... domestic production shrunk every year since. We don't have any transparency into the Saudi situation, but it's entirely possible that they're at this point right now.

It's not that companies haven't been looking for oil. It's just a conflict between an eventually finite resource (light sweet crude even more so than tar-sand crud) and an economic model that absolutely requires continual growth in energy consumption.

Welcome to peak oil. Buy a bike.

italianprincess 12 years, 8 months ago

Of course they are going to go up. They were going to go up anyway since Labor Day is next Monday, but with Katrina they will go up quicker.

My son called me from the bank yesterday and asked if I had enough gas in my car. I told him I had about a 1/2 tank. He said when he was done with his L.I.N.K meeting at Free State after work that he would take my car and fill her up. Thats what he did around eight last night.

Gas will rise like it always does around this time, but possibly more then thought it would.

nlf78 12 years, 8 months ago

Considering that Katrina affected oil rigs in the Gulf, I think it's only natural for the price of gas to go up. Unfortunately, I don't think we will ever see the gas prices of last year, or any year before, EVER again!

rock_chalk_jayhawk 12 years, 8 months ago

Yes, they have already gone up. When I left work at 3:30 yesterday afternoon, I filled up my tank for $2.59 a gallon. On my way to work this morning, the same gas station was selling gas for $2.75 per gallon.

I agree with everyone else that it would have went up anyway due to the upcoming Labor Day holiday.

neopolss 12 years, 8 months ago

We must put a stop to Katrina's "terrorist" activities, as it threatens the freedom of our friends in the south. At this moment, I give the hurricane 24 hours to leave the country, or we will invade...shock and awe that twister, soldiers!

BunE 12 years, 8 months ago

They already have; 15 cents at least

blessed3x 12 years, 8 months ago

What kills me is how a few oil rigs put out of commission by Katrina can affect gas prices at the pumps now. How long does it actually take oil pumped from a rig to be refined into gasoline? A few weeks. Probably longer since we have no refining capacity of our own and must rely upon other countries even to refine the fuel we consume. But by all means let's raise the price of gasoline already bought and paid for and sitting in the convenience store's tanks.

average 12 years, 8 months ago

"...we have no refining capacity of our own and must rely upon other countries even to refine the fuel we consume..."

The numbers you are seeking are here:

The US refines 90% of it's own finished petroleum product. A fair bit of the rest is refined by US oil companies just over the border in Mexico (not shipped here, but piped).

If it were solely a refinery issue, crude oil prices would not be as high as they are, since no one could use the oil. There is a shortage of "good" (low sulphur, low heavy-metal) crude.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 8 months ago

You all knew I would do here they are:

This is what the country should be concentrating on. Alternative fuel sources that are healthier for the environment.

We have already been using 10% ethanol for years and my hubby has used 2% biodiesel since it's been available. He's hoping legislation will make it so that he can get 20% biodiesel locally (which will make his engine last even longer). I got a chance to smell 100% biodiesel last week. Smells like cooking oil. Very little odor and NO gas smell at all. (Wouldn't that make you happier if you were stuck behind the city bus at a red light?) Also, wouldn't you rather have your child breath much cleaner air while on the school bus?

One thing I learned this week that I was glad to know about: Many of you already use 10% ethanol and just don't know it. (They are NOT required to label it as such on the pumps...although I think they should!)

As of right now, my jury is still out on carbon nanotubes but I think they have potential:

Just so I reamain on topic, I think if someone sneezes it will make the price of gasoline go up. This has nothing to do with a hurricane. Nice scapegoat, though.

Ceallach 12 years, 8 months ago

Yes they will/are. Average: thanks for the well stated, well supported info.

Americans are the biggest gas hogs on this planet, and the biggest cry babies about it. Yes oil companies make a lot of money, it's called capitalism, "An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market." I'm just irked because I don't have investments in oil :):)

I know that I make unnecessary trips every week. Zip here, zip there, zip, zip. I have a fairly good mpg rate on my car but I still need to work on combining errands, etc. The higher price has my attention now and I intent to work even harder to save fuel.

hawkrew 12 years, 8 months ago

Alternative fuels are the answer but do you really think the oil fat cats in charge of this country want that to happen?

enochville 12 years, 8 months ago

I heard this on CNN the other day. The reason why gas prices shoot up when crude oil prices go up even though the gas in the gas stations' underground tanks was bought at the old price is because gas stations charge you based on what it will cost them to replace the gas not by what it cost them to buy the actual gas you are using to fill up your tank. A corresponding drop in gas prices comes about much slower when crude oil prices go down. Gas stations only make between 1 to 5 cents per gallon. The rest of the price is crude oil, refining, and taxes. Gas is cheaper in Missouri due to lower taxes.

Ceallach 12 years, 8 months ago

Make mine pecan w/vanilla ice cream :)

Ceallach 12 years, 8 months ago

enochville: The state does make a difference. My mother filled her tank at Sam's Club yesterday for $2.12 per gallon. (That's Sam's Club in McAllen, TX :)

sunflower_sue 12 years, 8 months ago

OMB, Looking for an "alternative"? Try tea. A nice iced earl gray. That would be wonderful with the pecan pie a' la mode. (But the coffee would be better)

Ceallach, btw, that my favorite kind of pie! Is it Thanksgiving yet? Or can I just make one anyway? Nope, gotta use up those fresh peaches I have.

Oh, fuel...think ALTERNATIVE!!!

sunflower_sue 12 years, 8 months ago

Correction: That IS my favorite..........

trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 8 months ago

even-money your 7:30 post was great, i had a good laugh thanks needed it.

Ceallach 12 years, 8 months ago

e_m: Unfortunately that proves my earlier self assessment. I may have short-term memory problems when it comes to zipping around :) Since my car is small and rather fuel efficient, maybe I could classify it as a gas "piglet." There, that sounds harmless enough to allow me to do some extra zipping :)

sun_sue: My oldest daughter is the family pastry whiz. She makes wonderful pecan pies (with dark molasses, yummmm), but only for Christmas and special birthday requests.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 8 months ago

Remember when it was regular and ethel? That was my grandmother's name. Coincidence? I think not.


jonas 12 years, 8 months ago

I think that if enough people stopped putting gas in their cars, and just started drinking it themselves, then a lot of problems might be fixed a little more quickly than otherwise expected.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 8 months ago

Oh yes they call him the Streak - boogity boogity.

Liberty 12 years, 8 months ago

Yes, oil and gas prices will rise. But I think that this run up is soon to take a pause for a short while and then resume it's upward trek.

We should work less at conservation, and more on invention of new workable solutions for new methods of energy and movement.

bankboy119 12 years, 8 months ago

They are starting to introduce Hydrogen fuel cell cars but they currently cost over $100,000. They're testing a few out in D.C. this year and also over in China I believe....they are working on developing new technologies but they still admit they're years away to make available to the public.

And in answer to the ??...yes it will LA produced over 1 million barrels per day, almost 1/3 of the U.S.'s output

If some one else has already said that sorry for the repeat haven't read all the posts.

staff04 12 years, 8 months ago

kpippen- I laughed at the quality respondents to today's question, but I guess its better than asking 4 college freshmen that are usually swarming this time of year...

On July 28, ExxonMobil reported their second quarter profits at $7.84 Billion. That was the highest second quarter they have had in the history of the company, and the third highest quarter ever (3rd and 4th last year). In the last year, prices at the pump have increased at a higher rate than prices of either crude or wholesale gasoloine. I want to know why everyone EXCEPT the oil companies have to cinch their belts...

Linda Aikins 12 years, 8 months ago

TOB, he is a real fruitcake. We were recently visiting my father's grave in Mullinville and ran into a woman who babysat my brother when he was young. This woman said she was the subject of one of his signs, and just laughed it off. I think she had been on the city council or something. He is a real piece of work.

However, you and I are quite normal.

Ceallach 12 years, 8 months ago

Quality respondents??? staff04, what a mean thing for you to say! Have you evolved beyond the common person on the street? They are all employed, functioning parts of our society and are entitled to a little respect. It's easy to make fun of other people while anonymously hiding behind a username. For all we know you live in the South Park gazebo or in Lansing Penitentiary.

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 8 months ago

I just got an email saying that no one should buy gas on Sept 10. Anyone else get that? I don't know if it would really work but it would be fun to try. I think people need to consider the vehicles they drive. Why drive a huge SUV when there are only 2 people riding in it? People in SUVs are not status symbols anymore. You would impress me more by driving around in some 60s or 70s muscle car, but you would probably still be using a lot of gas. THink economy cars, they don't look the coolest but they make sense in this day and age.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 8 months ago

Oh to answer the question.

Yes. It already has.

Why don't the vehicles that get 10-12 mph slow down? For that matter, all vehicles? I wish they'd enforce the speed limit, if nothing else to teach us to conserve gas.

Are there vehicles that have little variation in mpg based on average speed? Other than a bicyclist who just had burritos and needs to hurry to the toilet?

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 8 months ago

Gootsie-That is hilarious!! Thats how I felt after eating at Burrito King a few weeks ago, I know I drove a few mph faster than normal!!

sunflower_sue 12 years, 8 months ago

Sean, I think you are dead wrong about biodiesel. Truth be told, you can whip the stuff up in a 50 gallon barrel at home (that's how it was first made). It is a simple chemical reaction. Can you site your source on this info? I would be very interested in reading it.

As for ethanol, I know it COSTS more (right now) to produce than refining crude oil into gasoline...but it doesn't take more ENERGY to make it than it puts out.

Please site your sources and I'll gladly eat crow if you prove me incorrect.

Confrontation 12 years, 8 months ago

As long as our congressional leaders are receiving gifts from the oil companies, there's no way they are going to approve more money towards the development of alternative fuel or energy efficient cars. Gas prices aren't affecting them anyhow, so why would they care?

staff04 12 years, 8 months ago

OMB-- You left out this part: Gives 10 year extension of tax credits to fossil fuel burning sources of energy.

Gives 2 year extension of tax credits to renewable and non-polluting sources of energy (wind, specifically).

average 12 years, 8 months ago


It has nothing to do with the cost of producing biofuels from corn/sugarcane/retirees. The problem is that growing corn on the depleted dirt of the plains (not worth calling it soil anymore) requires application of natural-gas derived ammonia fertilizer, oil-based trucking, and coal-based aquifer draining. Net: energy is lost over just using the fossil fuels more miserly.

staff04 12 years, 8 months ago

Ceallach- You're right. That was pretty mean spirited of me, and generally out of character. I'm not really going to try to justify my comment, but this isn't the normal mix of folks we see--meaning, there are generally a mix of professional and non-professional types up here.

Oh, and I'm in Lansing. Dead on.

Well, not really, but the building I work in is kind of shaped like a prison.

Ceallach 12 years, 8 months ago

staff04: understood. Although, if we were in Lansing we would probably have better medical and dental coverage :)

sunflower_sue 12 years, 8 months ago

average, It doesn't say, but I'm going to guess that that study was based on oil based diesel driven combines and trucking and such. I wonder what would happen to the numbers if they based them on machinery powered by 100% biodiesel (entirely possible and currently practiced in places today). It also made no account of how much pollution is generated by oil based diesel versus biodiesel. You see, initially, you have to use oil to produce your biodiesel..after awhile (with the proper legislation, of course, blah, blah...) it would become self sustaining. Not to mention, how much cleaner the earth would be.

It also made no mention that, as a country, we ALREADY have giant surplusses of grain. More good 'ol American security. A good thing, but if the stuff (grain) is going to rot on the ground anyway, why not turn it into something environmentally friendly.

I think your arguement fails in addressing the "long term". However, you will get NO arguement from me on the draining of the aquifers. I think that irrigation of crops should only take place in a national crisis situation.

heretoday 12 years, 8 months ago

did you know that willy nelson's tour bus is gas-powered by using recycled cooking oils from fast food restaurants?

average 12 years, 8 months ago

Shouldn't matter if you count it in Joules, Calories, BTU, or KWh... it's not positive.

Again, powering trucks with (bio)diesel isn't the big problem. It's the amount of natural gas (in the form of fertilizer) required to grow the biomass. An order of magnitude greater. And without irrigation, there ain't no surplus of grain. Oh, and North American natural gas production is SERIOUSLY hurting right now. Less and less gas produced each year for the last couple. And it's much more challenging to import than oil.

Efficiency says... burn the gas, generate electricity, run electric streetcars/interurbans/railroads. Hundredsfold more efficient than making biofuel by growing corn.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 8 months ago

heretoday, He's called BioWilly by his fans and , yes, he's using biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil (although there is more refining in the process than using soybean oil which is the most common form of oil used).

average, here's where we are at an impasse. I can't make a sufficient arguement againt the fertilizer. There is always human waste (which is in use) but that puts large amounts of heavy metals into the ground and the stench is something to behold! If you have a better idea, (without compromising American security and raising the prices at the grocery store by at least 300 % ...just a rough guess) I would love to hear it. I guess my advice to you would be to grow your own food (it would eliminate unnecessary trips to the grocery store). ;)

italianprincess 12 years, 8 months ago

Does anyone have any idea if Baton Rouge got hit and is like some other cities and counties in LA? I have a friend who lives there and of course theres no way to get ahold of him.

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 8 months ago

average, (or anyone interested) here is a link to a study done addressing how much fossil fuel is consumed in the process of making biodiesel:

for those w/out the time to read, it states that for every unit of fossil energy used in the ENTIRE production cycle of biodiesel (starting from bare soil), there is a gain of 3.2 units of energy when the fuel is burned (or a 320% positive energy balance).

Also, more neat stuff: U of Minnesota researchers have developed a prototype hydrogen reactor that is fed from corn-based ethanol. This thing is tiny (less than 2 feet tall). They say it produces hydrogen more efficiently than from fossil fuels. Actually, it uses an ethanol/water mixture. Pretty cool.

oldfashiongirl 12 years, 8 months ago

to Confrontation,

You're totally correct in saying that as long as the congressmen receive money from their constituents that nothing will ever be done about alternative cars. What this country needs is a good housecleaning, throw out the current set of bums, and set term limits on everyone. I lived in Virginia for years and this one junior representative quit in middle of his first term, saying he was put on committees where the old school geezers had the final say on everying and used their considerable influence to intimidate the newcomers.

What this country needs is a good Depression, like the one I grew up in the 1930's, where the high priced, overpaid executives stood on street corners and sold their pencils and apples, if they survived jumping out of windows. Let them grovel their way back to thinking and doing what is good for all mankind, not worshippig the money and what material goods it could bring them.

nut_case 12 years, 8 months ago

So Kansas City and Topeka have ethanol and biodiesel pumps where is ours???

sunflower_sue 12 years, 8 months ago

nut_case, There is ethanol at Casey's in Tonganoxie (3 cents less than reg.) In Lawrence, you have to ask the individual stations. Presto on N. 2nd says they have it, but it does not say so on the pump. Current law does not require that it be listed on the pump and they are considering legislation which would actually make it illegal to list it on the pump. Go figure! I'd rather know it was there so I could support it. As for local biodiesel, not sure. We get ours on the Interstate or order it from LV Co Co-op. Sorry to be of so little help.

Lawrence is now doing a feasibility study on a biodiesel plant in the area but so are other close areas (Emporia is doing one and a plant is actually being built in Mexico, MO) I think the one in Emporia makes a lot of sense. They already have a crusher, a renderer, and a rail system in place.

redneck 12 years, 8 months ago

Have any of you heard of E85 fuels? E85 is the term for motor fuel blends of 85 percent ethanol and just 15 percent gasoline. E85 is an alternative fuel as defined by the U.S. Department of Energy. Besides its superior performance characteristics, ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline; it is a completely renewable, domestic, environmentally friendly fuel that enhances the nation's economy and energy independence. All of the following manufacturers produce vehicles that can burn E85 fuels as well gasoline or or gasoline with 10% ethenol. * Daimler Chrysler * Ford * General Motors * Isuzu * Mazda * Mercedes * Mercury * Nissan There are 5 places in Kansas where you can purchase E85 fuel. There were only 4 places in Kansas to purchase this fuel about a month ago, so they are working on more locations. Check out 1565e1bd49db96f2850b67eb7. This is the website for National Ethenol Vehicle Coalition. I just purchased a new GMC Canyon (mid-size) pickup and found out about this AFTER I bought it. GM doesn't make a conversion kit for it, but hopefully they will have one soon.

redneck 12 years, 8 months ago

One other thing. You can purchase ethonal at any Casey's stores. HyVee also sells it for the same price as regular unleaded. Don't let any of these gas stations BS you. There is more than likely a tax incentive on ethonal blended fuels, so there is NO reason for it costing more than regular unleaded.

nut_case 12 years, 8 months ago


I think several stations around have an ethanol blend (ie 10% ethanol in gas) which is good. But I am so tired of my money going to people that want to kill us...I want the good stuff E85!!

For the past several months, I have been blending 1/2 a tank of E85 with 1/2 tank of regular 87 octane out to about 96 octane, car loves it, gas mileage is not noticeably different, price of e85 is generally about .30/gallon less than regular 87 and it supports mid-west farmers, not freaking terrorists.

I know Capitol City Oil co in topeka has one E85 pump at their card lock station, the next closest is over on Banister road in KC. Imagine that - we are the freaking buckle of the corn belt and you have to drive 30 miles to get real E85!

I've cut my use of "gas" in half by blending the E85. No special modifications needed, just blend at the pump. Let the freaking terrorists keep their oil!

redneck 12 years, 8 months ago

sunflower_sue, how long have you been doing this? From what I understand, E85 is very corrosive and may eat up your fuel lines and other components if you don't have a conversion kit installed. I'll have to do some more research, because you have a very good idea if it doesn't mess up your fuel system. I may have to do more shopping in Topeka untill they get E85 in Lawrence.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 8 months ago

redneck, the ethanol I'm referring to is 10%. And as 1983 all car makers had to convert ingines to support that. Still don't use E85 because : 1. Can't get it 2. My car doesn't have the conversion system

I'm sure there will be a day, though. And until then, I'll just keep on my soap box. ;) I'm just always amazed at the # of people who know so little about ethanol when it's been around forever. Practically nobody knows it's better for engine and environment alike so I'm just trying to do my very small part and spread the word.

I know there will be better things in the future (hydrogen) but IMHO, biofuel and ethanol will be the stairsteps to get there. Hydrogen cars are still at least 15 years out. Biofuels can be done TODAY!

dane21 12 years, 8 months ago

i hate all these dumbass liberal pieces of crap talking down about bush. everyone is turning it into a racial issue and it is is a tragedy that befell upon upon our nation and it is a time for our nation to come together. i hate that everybody and the stars mainly including kanye west and sean penn and all them liberals doing nothing but bashing bush. we need to all ban together and help all the evacuees and not turning against each other but helping each other. this is not a time to bash anyone atheist and dont believe in god but for those of you that do like the rev jesse jackson and al sharpton...this is suposed to be an act of goid so blame it on him and not bush

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