PHILADELPHIA - Hurricane Harvey forced many oil rigs and refineries to shut down, and the federal government has been forced to dip into its emergency stockpile.
As a result, gasoline prices have started to rise, and many people are not happy about it.
In some cases, folks are rushing to the pumps before prices go even higher. Others fear gasoline shortages may be on the horizon.
Eric Williams of Roxborough said, "Prices are ridiculous, and we need to put an end to it."
According to the Pennsylvania Gasoline Retailers Association, gas prices in the last six days have gone up, anywhere from 20 to 24 cents a gallon.
Aaron Prince of Mount Airy agreed. "I need more money in my paycheck to afford this stuff," he said. "It's just ridiculous."
Analysts say prices normally go up a little during the Labor Day Weekend.
But considering the fact that one quarter of the Gulf Coast's oil refining capacity was taken off line due to Harvey, Radnor analyst Stephen Schork of the Schork Group predicts prices will go even higher.
"We could expect to see anywhere between a 20- to 40-cent-a-gallon rise in the price of gasoline over the next several weeks," he said.
But the Gasoline Retailers Association suspects there's something else going on.
"Gouging is what I would call it," said Ross DiBono of the Pa. Gas Retailers Association.
DiBono, who represents local gas station owners and operators, acknowledges that refineries in Texas have been impacted.
But, he argues, the East Coast has its own refining capacity and prices should not be going up as high as they are.
"I have to believe that the oil companies really are taking advantage of our consumers," he said.
Maggie Kennedy certainly noticed how much more it cost to fill up her car.
"It's about six dollars more right now than it normally would be to fill up," she said.
Schork predicts that it may take as long as October before prices start falling again as refineries go back on line, and gas from Europe and elsewhere makes its way to the U.S. market.
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