Local News

Gas Prices Begin To Rise Across N.C. Following Rita

Posted September 26, 2005 10:58 a.m. EDT

— Gas prices started to rise across North Carolina after holding steady or falling for several days.

The rise comes after Hurricane Rita came ashore near the Texas-Louisana border on Saturday morning with punishing winds and heavy rain.

Leading up to Rita, essentially all Gulf oil production, which accounts for 29 percent of the nation's production, ceased. On Monday, 16 Texas oil refineries remained shut down after the storm, and crews found significant damage to at least one in the Port Arthur area, said Energy Department spokesman Craig Stevens.

Over the weekend, gas rose at least 7 cents in North Carolina, according to an

Oil Price Information Service report from AAA


The prices on Sunday averaged $2.80 a gallon statewide for regular unleaded gas. But on Monday, the average rose to $2.87, the report said.

The highest prices were recorded in Asheville, where gas rose 17 cents overnight to $2.97. In the Triangle, gas rose from an average of $2.82 a gallon to $2.87 a gallon.

The assessment of Rita damage was still ongoing Monday, but seven facilities in Port Arthur and Beaumont, Texas, and Lake Charles, La., were without power from the storm, which left the 255,000-barrel-per-day Valero Energy Corp. plant in Port Arthur the most heavily damaged. The facility faces at least two weeks of repairs.

The International Energy Agency, the watchdog for industrialized, oil-importing countries, said it could release state-held stockpiles within the week to cushion any lost output from Rita.