Katrina Effects on Local Gas Prices

Hurricane Katrina could further escalate gasoline, heating oil and jet fuel prices, but how could gas prices be affected in the Big Bend area?

Shelby Stufer considers herself lucky because she drives a 70 mile per gallon vehicle that takes only $2 to fill up, but she is part of a minority.

For most people, a hike in gas prices means spending more money whether you want to or not.

Eric Kase, who evacuated from Louisiana, says, "I don't have a choice. I evacuated from New Orleans, so I’m here till I find out if I have a house when I get back, but gas back in New Orleans is about $2.40. This is high enough right here."

Reports show that refiners have closed over one million barrels along the Gulf.

Sarah Bleakley says this is bad news for Florida drivers.

Sarah says, "Our whole way of living, our whole culture is based on this car right here, so I don't know what people are gonna do."

There is some good news. According to the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores Association the state's gas supply is in pretty good shape.

Jim Smith of the association says, "We have sufficient supplies right now. They're thinning, but we don't have to wait for refineries to come back online to get product."

Smith says gas prices will inevitably keep rising, but no one knows how much. Smith says it depends on suspected damage to off-shore oil refineries along the Gulf of Mexico and any disruption to the shipping channel along the Mississippi River.

The price of oil is now over $70 a barrel.