Even though the disaster declaration that's been invoked includes an anti-gouging provision, you can expect to get hit in the pocketbook even if Ike turns out to be a Rita in terms of its Houston effects.
That's because the price of gas is going to see an Ike Spike.
Gas prices have climbed dramatically on the NYMEX exchange, and it's likely to get worse as refineries and rigs shut down.
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As Reuters reports:
"The worst-case scenario for the hurricane season is what we're looking at with Ike," said Chris Jarvis, senior analyst with Caprock Risk Management.
Eleven Texas refineries representing 16 percent of total U.S. refinery capacity were shuttered in precaution ahead of Hurricane Ike, including the nation's largest, ExxonMobil's 567,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Baytown, Texas.
"Of everything in the complex, the refinery system and gasoline storage being at their lowest since 2000, this is the one area that is very much the Achilles' heel of the energy complex," he said.
So four-dollar gas is no doubt in our future, even if Ike passes most of Houston by like Rita.
-- Richard Connelly