Texans, prepare for rising gas prices, expert says

Gas supply continues to be a problem across the Houston area. Fortunately, experts say it should be short-lived.

Video Transcript

KEATON FOX: Yeah. It's not looking good at this exact moment. I just got off the phone with the petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. He told me a couple of things.

First of all, he says at least 11 refineries in the state of Texas alone got knocked off-- offline because of this winter storm, and here's the giant number that I couldn't believe. 20%, fully 20% of all of the US gas production was knocked offline by our winter storm. That is a number that is shocking to me just for a cold snap for sure.

He's also telling me that we can expect a bit of a moderate surge in gas prices over the next few days because of this. The good news, if there is some here, is that he expects that this is not going to last very long. This is the GasBuddy disaster tracker.

All of those red dots that you see across this map, which, by the way, is inside that GasBuddy app which has been provided to us, are offline gas stations for one of two reasons. Number one, a number of these stations did not have power for some time and are trying to get back online. The good news is that this has rapidly changed over the last 24 hours, of course. Now, most of those are online, but this is a picture from this morning.

All those red dots from this morning also include thing number two, which is the fact that they don't actually have gasoline at the locations. So a vast number of stations across the city right now having trouble just getting that supply. Part of that, obviously, is just the very delivery mechanism of getting gas from a production facility to the gas stations themselves.

Again, this information coming to us this morning from Patrick De Haan. He's the petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. Here's what he had to say about some of those problems and his outlooks for the next few days.

PATRICK DE HAAN: Fuel is flowing. Storage facilities have gasoline. It's just a matter of getting that to the station as quickly as motorists are filling up. This is not going to be a shortage situation. This is going to be temporary where stations cannot keep caught up to the pace of motorists now filling their tanks.

KEATON FOX: So his best advice right now is, if you can't find a station with gas, try a couple of different places. He, obviously, working for GasBuddy, would also like you to check out that GasBuddy app. It is a very handy map if you're there because it will show you gasoline locations across the city that have either power or that gas. And, of course, it asks if you find one. You can submit a report in the app that will help other folks, Art. It's a very handy tool to have on your phone.

ART RASCON: It looks terrific, actually. Yeah, especially during these times.

KEATON FOX: Absolutely.

ART RASCON: OK. So we've talked about petroleum. What about natural gas at this point? How is the supply chain there?

KEATON FOX: Well, we know that natural gas was a problem over the last few days because natural gas was being used by so many households across Texas and the southern United States to heat their homes that it was actually a problem getting natural gas to a lot of the facilities that we needed to generate power, and that was an issue for some time.

You can see this information coming to us from the US Energy Information this morning, and you can see sort of this is the line that's going along most of the 48 states. Blue here is Texas alone, and then see that giant drop right there at the beginning of February because so many different facilities were offline over the last few bits.

Here's the other part that we don't like to see, the natural gas spot prices. This is not what you're paying necessarily on your bill, but it'll all trickle down at some point. You can see the prices there well below $5, and then bam. Take a look at that giant spike--

ART RASCON: Wow.

KEATON FOX: --at how much it was costing. So this is going to be an issue over the next little bit. We're keeping an eye on all the numbers for you, Art. And, of course, we'll keep you updated.

ART RASCON: I guess the only good news here, and this is quick, that all of this is very temporary.

KEATON FOX: That is the outlook for now.

ART RASCON: OK.

KEATON FOX: But, of course, customers always wind up paying for it.