Besides global political issues, gasoline prices also are dependent on weather. That could be an issue this summer since the National Weather Service has forecast that the country will experience 13 to 20 named storms, including seven to 11 hurricanes, three to six of which are likely to be major hurricanes.
“That's something that could create volatility even if none of those hurricanes were to make landfall,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com. “We have about half of the nation's oil refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. If were have a hurricane in the gulf, you would see offshore oil rigs and refineries shut down as a safety measure.”
It generally takes a day or two to shut down a refinery and up to a week for it to return to full capacity.
“If we have the kind of activity the national weather service is forecasting, that represents quite a bit of potential volatility in terms of getting output from refineries and getting fuel to retail outlets,” Laskoski said.