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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While Hurricane Harvey is not a threat to South Florida, its effects likely be felt statewide in the form of higher gas prices.

Nearly half of all the oil refining capacity in the U.S. sits on the Gulf Coast and nearly one-third of it appears to be Harvey’s path. This cluster puts out more than five million barrels of oil a day.

Oil platforms and rigs have already been shutdown. In Galveston, the sea wall is 17 feet high. A storm surge over that could travel from the Gulf into Galveston Bay and end up the Houston shipping channel, crippling one of the nation’s busiet ports. It is also home to several major refineries.

Jim Blackburn, an environmental engineer at Rice University, said if Houston’s current infrastructure doesn’t hold up, the city will take a big hit.

“If we reach those levels we could see the worst environmental disaster in United States history. And we’d probably shut down and cause a major gap in gasoline and jet fuel and other types of critical products availability,” he said.

Wholesale gas futures rose nearly three percent on Friday.

It’s estimated that gas prices could jump anywhere from five to fifteen cents a gallon.


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