JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tropical Storm Gordon could affect gas prices as it makes its way toward land.
The system is expected to become a hurricane before making landfall along the northern Gulf Coast somewhere between the Louisiana and Florida coastlines.
So far, the storm has not affected gas prices, but that could change if refineries suffer damage or go offline.
Refineries in Louisiana and Mississippi began making preparations for the storm on Monday.
The Gulf Coast is home to nearly half (45%) of the nation's refinery capacity. Last year, pump prices surged after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm, causing mass flooding and refinery outages. Energy production dropped approximately 21% as a result.
Although oil prices didn't change much, gasoline futures jumped 47 cents within five days of Harvey's arrival. Fifteen days after landfall, gas prices in the southeastern U.S. had climbed 40-50 cents.
"It's too early to know just how much of an impact -- if any -- Gordon will have on prices at the pump," said Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman. "Market watchers will pay close attention to how refineries respond to this storm. Any supply outages would likely cause prices to climb."
Anadarko Petroleum has shut down and evacuated two facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. So far, no other oil rigs have shut down, but that could change as other companies monitor the conditions in the gulf.
Gas prices are already higher than usual following Labor Day weekend. But some of the cheapest gas in the state can be found in Jacksonville. The average price per gallon in the River City is $2.76, according to AAA.