Gas prices rising across Roanoke Valley as a result of Hurricane Harvey

Gas prices in Virginia are up about 22 cents since Hurricane Harvey.

ROANOKE, Va. – Hurricane Harvey is having an effect here at home as gas prices are on the rise across the country. The floodwaters knocked around 20 percent of America's refinery capacity offline and shut down a major East Coast pipeline which carries more than 3 million barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

In Virginia, the gas price hike is hitting hard. Gas prices are up about 22 cents since Hurricane Harvey because Virginia gas is primarily fed through the Colonial Pipeline which starts in Houston and is now shut down.

It's still a guessing game, but AAA says the prices should rebound in the short-term.

"It's hard to tell exactly. It really is going to depend on the rebuilding efforts but I would say in a couple weeks as everything starts to stabilize again," said Beth Farmer, AAA travel agent. 

AAA says gas increases are to be expected when natural disasters wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast. With nationwide gas supplies being high and seemingly less severe refinery damage, AAA says these increases should be less brutal than ones before.

"The good news is that we do not expect gas prices to go up as they did with Hurricane Katrina when we saw gas prices rise 80 cents a gallon," said Martha Meade, public and government affairs manager. 

Millions of drivers will still hit the road for the holiday weekend. And some are already paying the price.

"I've seen increases. Delaware was still like $2.24 when I left this morning. I got gasoline in Port Royal that was $2.49 and then on the interstate, I've seen as high as $2.50," said Bert Riley.

But Bert isn't worried about the prices, he's on a journey from Delaware to Texas to help those in need.

"I'm called to go. If God calls me to go, I'm going to go. I feel like that's what happened. He wants me to go and I'm on my way, doesn't matter," said Riley.

Just this week, Gov. Terry McAuliffe got approval from the Environmental Protection Agency to switch over to winter blends of gasoline, which are cheaper and easier to produce.