POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — As 19 trillion gallons of water pummeled southeast Texas, causing an estimated $190 billion in damages and excluding the innumerable emotional wreckage, we watched. The impact of Hurricane Harvey is physically visible in Texas, but locally, drivers in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. are just beginning to feel the effects at the pumps.
All along the Gulf Coast, pipelines and refineries shut down in preparation for the hurricane. Even after closing and bracing for impact, ExxonMobil reported that two of its refineries were damaged by the record-breaking storm, causing an array of potentially dangerous chemicals to release. Due to the numerous shutdowns, gas prices have effectively shot up, which are beginning to become noticeable in the surrounding areas.
According to GasBuddy.com, the current average price for one gallon of gas in the area is $2.72, which is up about 40 cents since Harvey’s impact. The price varies throughout the region, with some motorists encountering a staggering $3.05 per gallon, a massive jump from what customers are normally used to.
Though gas prices are expected to lower by the end of the month, the prices are currently jumping by about five to 10 cents a week. In an area that is heavily populated by college students as well as New York City commuters, those few cents start to add up. The average round-trip from Poughkeepsie to Manhattan is about 160 miles, which, depending on how many miles per gallon your car gets, would turn out to be a very expensive drive to work.
At Marist College, the vast majority of students who brought their cars up this semester did not expect their decision to be impacted by hurricanes in Texas and, more recently, Florida. As hurricanes Harvey and Irma dissipated, so did the money in students’ wallets.
“It’s ridiculous how something that we actually need can be so unaffordable at times when we need it the most,” Alex Ostroumoff, a junior at Marist College, said. “As a college student, I already am conscious about spending money, and with the gas prices being ridiculously high, I have to sacrifice other things because I need gas.”
These thoughts hold true for many students across the campus, as complaints about gas prices can be heard during a simple walk to class. Other students, however, have come to accept the prices as they are, realizing that there’s no getting around the rising cost of fuel.
“I don’t pay attention to gas prices because there is nothing I can do about it,” Anthony Lettieri, a junior at Marist College, said. “I still need to drive from point A to point B, which means I have to pay for gas no matter the price.”
As oil refineries reopen their doors and rebuilding efforts push forward, gas prices will eventually decrease, as prices are expected to drop by the end of the month.