Area travelers can expect to pay some of the highest fuel prices in the nation this summer, oil industry experts say.
The flood that hit northeast Oklahoma and southeast Kansas this week put the Coffeyville, Kan., refinery under several feet of water when the Verdigris River swelled out of it's banks.
The refinery contributes less than 1 percent of the nation's gasoline production, but most of it goes to Midwestern states, including Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota.
Officials say they are unsure of the extent of the damage from the record high floods and won't know until workers are able to get back into the area to assess the damage. They are also unsure when the refinery will resume operations.
Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said Tuesday that, based on photographs, the facility will likely not be up and running until after Labor Day.
“It is really bad timing, it is bad luck,” Kloza said. “For all intents and purposes, it looks like that refinery is not going to be contributing fuel for the rest of the summer.”
Kloza says that states who get their gasoline from the Coffeyville refinery would have had gasoline prices at or below the prices a year ago.
But now, they will see prices closer to $3 a gallon for the rest of the summer.