Gasoline Prices Likely Heading Higher With Rita Strike

As thousands stream out of the Texas coast, along with them are the folks who keep the pipelines, the refineries, the oil platforms going. Three hurricanes in the Gulf this year have helped to push oil prices, and our gas prices, higher.

Now here comes Rita.

"So, we are already below levels as far as supply," says Jim Tarter is dean of the business college at UT Tyler, and he says we should get ready for a repeat of Katrina.

"If that shifts over and there are refineries on the Texas coast, if they have to shut in, it's going to continue to reduce the supply, so by supply and demand. I think the price is going to go up," he says.

But how high?

$2.45 a gallon is better than earlier this month, but still bad enough.

"I wouldn't be surprised to go to three dollars for the top grades and over that."

The wider hit to the Texas economy can't be ignored. In the southeast, many people were displaced and lost their jobs. But it will take a while for things to get back to normal. In the meantime, Tarter says neighbors will be helping neighbors.

"Taking people from here and assigning crews down there, people cleaning debris, and things like that are seeing down there," and those Texans helped will be called upon, if able, to help here.

"So it's a mutual back and forth that I'm sure Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama would come to the aid of Texas if the tables were turned," said Tarter.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.