Texans aren’t the only ones feeling the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Those of us who live on the East Coast are experiencing - on a much smaller scale - some of the pain. In our case, at the gas pump.
The average price of gasoline increased by 26 cents a gallon in a single week and went higher this weekend, according to data from the fuel tracking web site GasBuddy.com.
We know the reason, of course. The Colonial Pipeline, which carries huge amounts of fuel between Houston and the East Coast, shut down after Harvey forced the closure of refineries and some of the pipeline’s own facilities.
The pipeline has two main lines that normally transport more than 100 million gallons of gasoline, heating oil and aviation fuel as far as the New York harbor each day. If it’s not working properly, the result is, at the very least, a not-unreasonable fear of shortages - and higher prices.
The good news is that some of those Gulf Coast refineries have resumed operations and, it is predicted, one segment will be ready to move gasoline today.
For most of us, then, these prices will soon be nothing more than a grim reminder of what a storm like Harvey can do. That is, unless Irma, now taking aim at the Bahamas, decides to head our way next week.
So here’s the question: If these storms - including Katrina and Sandy - are likely to become more frequent, how do we, as a nation, prepare and protect ourselves - and our fellow citizens in more vulnerable parts of the country - from the aftermath?
Shouldn’t we start planning now?