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Refinery shutdowns put pressure on gasoline prices

By JACK WEATHERLY

Nearly 20 percent of U.S. oil refining has been halted because of flooding on the Gulf Coast in the Houston metro area, according to company reports and Reuters estimates, putting pressure on the price of gasoline at the pump.

The average price of regular in Mississippi rose to $2.16 on Wednesday, up six cents a gallon from a week earlier, according to AAA.

The U.S. average for regular was $2.40. Mississippi’s gasoline is the fourth cheapest in the nation.

It is not known how long refineries will be shut down by the widespread flooding across southeast Texas.

Chevron’s Pascagoula refinery, the company’s largest, is continuing to operate, as there is no flooding in Mississippi.

Alan Sudduth, manager for policy, governmental and public affairs for the plant, said he could not divulge for proprietary reasons whether the refinery was taking up some of the refinery load.

Mississippi-based trucking companies have been unable to operate in Houston area, as terminals are flooded, according to Hal Miller, president of the Mississippi Trucking Association.

“About 10 percent of all U.S. trucking in the United States has been impacted,” either by shutdowns or rerouting, Miller said.

That includes Mississippi-based truckers. Calls to them were not returned.

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