Winter conditions affect gas prices

Freezing temperatures in the southern region in the United States this week have had a significant impact on the supply, demand and price of gasoline. 

People in Tangipahoa Parish have reported shortages of gas at area convenience stores, making morning commutes difficult for some drivers who had to brave the roads earlier in the week. 

An employee from the Race Trac gas station in the Hammond and Ponchatoula area said the supply at local Race Trac stores had run low due to high demand.

The supply is normally restocked by trucks traveling from Houston and the hard freeze there caused major delays in their deliveries. 

Callie Hines, a co-owner of the new Pappy's Stowaway Cafe and Convenience Store on West Pine Street in Ponchatoula, said the pumps there were activated this week. 

"For a moment, we were the only place with gas in town," she said. "I've heard there were issues with deliveries coming out of Houston, but fortunately our gas is delivered out of Louisiana and we had no issues."

Issues at the pumps also can arise during a freeze when the filters inside them get clogged, she explained. Maintenance can be required to bring back proper flow through the pumps. 

By Friday, most area gas stations reported having their gasoline supply restocked again and expected no further issues expected as the weather warms again. 

A spokesperson from AAA said the higher demand for gasoline for either travel or emergency appliances like generators is not expected to cause major shortages in supply, but costs are projected to rise. 

“Most motorists continue to see gas prices increase, but at a slower rate than in the past few weeks,” said Jeanette Casselano McGee, AAA spokesperson. “Part of that is due to more stable crude oil prices throughout January. However, if demand continues another week of substantial increases, we can expect to see pump prices get more expensive.”

Poten & Partners, an organization that has provided insights for clients in the oil and gas market for 75 years, stated prices could rise because the freezing weather halted Gulf Coast production, which disrupted the market as a whole. The Gulf Coast is not set up for this kind of weather and these events do not occur often., a spokesperson from Poten & Partners said, adding that the market should bounce back relatively soon. 

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