NEW YORK (AP) -- Hurricane Ike is blamed for sending crude oil and gasoline prices higher today. The massive storm has caused companies along the Texas coast to shut down refining and drilling operations.
The hurricane is forecast to land near Galveston, a barrier island about 50 miles southeast of Houston. The region is home to about one-fifth of U.S. refining capacity, and the site of a major fuel and grain distribution channel.
Wholesale gasoline prices on the Gulf Coast moved even further into uncharted territory to around $4.85 a gallon, as refineries anticipated that Ike would prompt at least a significant pause in their operations, and at worst, severe damage to their facilities.
Light, sweet crude for October delivery rose 62 cents to $101.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
At the pump, auto club AAA says the average for unleaded regular gasoline moved up slightly overnight to nearly $3.68 a gallon.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)