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Gas Prices Could Spike Because Of Irene

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- While Hurricane Irene batters the east coast, don't let the nice weather here fool you. Higher gasoline prices in this area could be the result.

"If this storm hits the way they're anticipating it's going to hit, we could have complete chaos throughout the eastern seaboard. That's where all our gasoline comes in from," Don Bowers of Superior Petroleum told KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano.

Duquesne University Prof. Kent Moors says Hurricane Irene appears to be headed toward some major refining and storage facilities.

"We're looking at New Jersey, we're looking at Pennsylvania, we're looking at facilities in Maryland, we're looking at facilities as we move up the coast in Rhode Island and Massachusetts," says Moors.

Bowers says that kind of disruption means one thing.

"What it usually means for prices is they're going to skyrocket. We could go up to the 89s again."

That's $3.89 a gallon.

Moors agrees.

"We may see the price spike up 20, 30, even 40 cents a gallon."

Delano: "Forty cents a gallon?"

Moors: "Right. It won't last, Jon, unless there's massive destruction of facilities. It won't last, but this is very much a supply and demand situation."

What may compound the shortage problem, says Bowers, is that this metro region is still on summer gas -- which may be hard to replace next week.

"Unless the governor, the state of Pennsylvania, the DEP, and the EPA, the federal government, takes a look at this and authorizes the use -- and the marketers can go ahead and start using the 9-0 or whatever gasoline that we can get, we could be in some serious problems," notes Bowers.

With bad news like this the natural reaction is to run out to your nearest gas station and fill up with lower price gasoline, but all the experts say if you do that it will only make the situation worse.

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