Consumer Alert: The aftereffects of Ida’s wrath will likely be felt at the pump

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Consumers will likely feel the aftereffects of Hurricane Ida. That storm may hit us right in the wallet. Analysts predict gas prices will rise. Here’s why.

The Gulf Coast is the biggest refining area in the United States, making up 45% of the U.S refining capacity. I checked the U.S Energy Information and Administration website, and I counted 19 refineries in the Houston area alone, names like Exxon mobile, Phillips 66 and Valero. And before Ida unleashed her wrath on gulf coast communities, 96% of those refineries shut down as a precaution.

But that’s not all. The Colonial Pipeline shut down temporarily as well, and that pipeline is crucial for those of us who live in Rochester and across the east coast. It carries 3 million barrels of fuel a day between Texas and New York. That’s 1.26 billion gallons of fuel. That fuel includes gas, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil. Fortunately, it’s not cold enough to need heating oil.

But you can bet it will drive up prices at the pump. That’s because when refineries and the pipeline shut down even temporarily, we see a spike in prices. Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy, told USA Today we can expect a spike of 5 to 15 cents. He says it won’t happen immediately. He predicts we’ll those prices creep up gradually over the next two weeks.

Here’s Deanna’s Do List for saving money on gas:

  • Show no loyalty. You may have a loyalty card at a gas station, but it takes forever for you to build up enough points to get a discount. In the meantime, you may be able to get cheaper gas elsewhere.
  • Combine trips. Get those errands done in one trip rather than multiple runs.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated.
  • Use a gas app that tells you where the cheapest gas is in your area.

Here are four favorites:

Waze and GasBuddy are crowd-sourced. That means that people are reporting prices in real-time. I’ve found both really helpful. But I’ve read good things about the other two. All help you find the least expensive gas near you.