Gas prices expected to increase on East Coast

The hurricane could impact prices at the pump

As is the case with many natural disasters, the residual effects of Hurricane Sandy may include an extreme fluctuation of gas prices.

According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, while California slowly recovers from gas price fluctuations stemming from a refinery disruption this summer, the East Coast may experience similar panic at the pump as it recovers from the effects of the storm. 

Many analysts predict increases that could send prices soaring over $4.00 a gallon. This would be a result of increased consumption by emergency crews and a major concern from drivers that supply could be running out.

Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for national gas price tracker, told the news source that Eastern residents must be prepared for the effects brought on by the hurricane.

"For motorists west of the Mississippi, there may be little change in prices because of the storm, but as you head east, there may be disruptions at various levels," DeHaan said.

As the cleanup process begins, it remains to be seen how much damage the storm has caused, especially in heavily populated areas. If there is a significant amount, gas prices could go up as more people rush to the pumps to fill their tanks as an immediate reaction to the storm. Many emergency vehicles will be running on overtime to assist in recovery efforts, and they will need an increased level of fuel as well.

Even if the fluctuation isn't as extreme as some may predict, it is important for oilfield producers to be prepared for any drastic changes in energy demands. Using oilfield equipment to build efficiency into extraction operations can help companies ensure that they are well prepared to handle any changes in demand. Doing so could make a difference in prices at the pump as well as the economy's recovery from the storm.