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Hurricanes and the App that Helped


Powerful Hurricanes Harvey and Irma arrived early based on the traditional tropical storm season in the Atlantic and conditions remain conducive for more weather-related activity for the next two months.

The back-to-back storms resulted in us implementing and improving on our GasBuddy App Tracker for fuel availability. In addition, Analysts Patrick DeHaan and Frank Beard went to Florida to work side-by-side with Florida’s Emergency Management team in Tallahassee. They provided data, information, and insight that contributed to the safe evacuation of many Floridians. The app is credited with helping users locate fuel stations that were open and had a supply of gasoline or diesel rather than confronting the frustrating challenge of driving to great lengths to discover little to no fuel availability.

As for the price of fuel and where pump prices are headed, the premium paid for Harvey’s effect on refineries in the Texas Gulf Coast and the drawdown of supplies on the heels of Irma is still being felt, especially in the eastern part of the North American continent where fuel supplies remain tight. Wednesday’s all important Energy Information Administration’s Weekly Petroleum Status Report revealed the biggest gasoline drawdown in history, 8.24 million barrels, for the previous week and setting inventories back to a three-year low. In turn, many refineries won’t see the customary slowdown in production with slowing Fall season demand for fuel given the shortfall — and oil demand will rise as a consequence. This, in turn, could see prices at the pumps, which have risen 30 – 35 cents a gallon since August 25th, remain high especially in the U.S. Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Gulf Coast.

The churning Hurricane Jose in the Atlantic is not likely to affect the U.S., but, at this early juncture, it may skim Cape Cod and reach Nova Scotia at some point next week. However, true to the early arrival of two powerful storms in the season, it would appear that two more disturbances developing off the coast of West Africa again. For storm watchers and motorists alike, closer attention will inevitably follow in the weeks ahead. Your GasBuddy App is at the ready.

Senior Petroleum Analyst, Canada

Dan is a skilled and noted bilingual (French and English) consumer advocate specializing in energy and current affairs. Known as Canada's “Gas Guru,” he founded to better help motorists anticipate the price of gasoline in advance across Canada. He has over three decades of experience in the petroleum industry, as a parliamentarian and an analyst.