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Harvey: GTA gas prices could see sharp hike in coming days due to flooding, damage

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WATCH ABOVE: After the arrival of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Canadian motorists are about to pay significantly higher prices for gasoline and other fuel. As Sean O'Shea reports, it boils down to less refinery capacity and little competition – Aug 31, 2017

As Texas continues to deal with the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, a Canadian petroleum expert says gas prices in the Greater Toronto Area could increase 11 cents in the next few days.

“We are nowhere out of the woods yet and this problem will not be resolved [in September],” Dan McTeague, senior Canadian petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, told Global News Wednesday evening.

“We’re going to be looking at a much longer, protracted period of time when prices are going to be significantly higher than we expect heading into the winter turnover season.”

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READ MORE: Harvey’s Texas flooding to cause gas price hikes across North America

McTeague said in addition to the two-cents-a-litre increase the GTA experienced Wednesday, he said gas prices are expected to rise another three cents on Thursday and five cents on Friday. He said going into the weekend, the average gas price should be around 123.9 cents a litre.

Potentially adding to gas price woes locally, he said there could be an additional three-cent increase over the weekend based on Wednesday’s market trading.

McTeague said as much as 31 per cent of U.S. gas production is offline, and prices going forward will depend on the extent of damage in the southern United States.

“What’s important is the flooding because you can’t operate,” he said.

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“You can’t bring in your crew, you can’t export your refined products if the transportation routes are down.”

While conditions in Houston appeared to improve on Wednesday, authorities warned that the crisis in the nation’s fourth-largest city and across the region is far from over. The storm, in fact, took a turn for the worse east of the city, close to the Louisiana line.

READ MORE: Hurricane Harvey expected to spike Atlantic Canada gasoline prices

Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, struggled with rising floodwaters and worked to evacuate residents after Harvey completed a U-turn in the Gulf of Mexico and rolled ashore early Wednesday for the second time in six days. It hit southwestern Louisiana as a tropical storm with heavy rain and winds.

Forecasters predicted that a wobbling and weakening Harvey would be downgraded to a tropical depression late Wednesday or early Thursday and completely dissipate within three to four days.

With files from the Associated Press