Ike spikes gas prices in Greenville

Published 3:09 pm Thursday, September 11, 2008

Butler County has little to worry from Hurricane Ike’s winds, but there’s little doubt the storm’s impact is already being felt along the Gulf Coast as gasoline prices spiked on Thursday.

Retail gas was selling for at much as $3.79 in Greenville at convenience stores on I-65 as of 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.

Forecasters expect Ike – a Category 2 storm on Thursday – to strengthen and make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Saturday, pummeling the Texas coastline, home to one-fourth of the United States’ gasoline refining capacity.

Gasoline flirted with $4 per gallon prices in July, before oil fell from its high of $147 a barrel. Experts believe Ike may push gasoline prices beyond the $4 mark, depending on the hurricane’s effects on the refineries in Texas.

Yet oil continued its downward spiral on Thursday as investors worried about waning demand. Oil sank below $101 a barrel in trading.

“It’s a strange, strange world here,” Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst of the Oil Price Information on Wall Street told the Associated Press. “You might see an extraordinary thing — you may see crude oil less than $100 and retail gasoline more than $4 a gallon.”