Delaware Public Media

Gas price spike expected in wake of Philly refinery fire

Jun 28, 2019

The unexpected shutdown of a Philadelphia refinery means First State  motorists can expect a significant increase in gas prices.



AAA Mid-Atlantic says last week’s explosion at Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ (PES) South Philadelphia oil refinery will result in a surge in prices at the pump. 

The refinery is the largest on the East Coast, producing approximately 335,000 barrels of oil per day. 

AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Public and Government Affairs Manager Ken Grant says the loss of oil from the fire and halting production at the facility create a gas shortage.


“Gasoline stocks from Canada, neighboring refineries and the Colonial Pipeline are identified as potential solutions to help backfill supply following the incident," said Grant. "And of course we still don’t know the long term viability of that situation.”


Grant notes the cost of transporting gas from elsewhere to backfill the PES refinery’s lost production is likely to push prices higher.


But he says it’s still too early to gauge the full impact. AAA Mid-Atlantic reports gas prices are currently about 20 cents lower than this time last year, but rose 7 cents in the past week to $2.54.


Grant says that trend seems likely to continue.


“We are looking at a fairly high demand, especially going into Fourth of July summer travel. So that combination of factors, you’ll probably, y’know, we’re looking at there just being an increase and everybody needs to be aware of that and make plans accordingly.” 


The explosion at the PES refinery is currently under investigation. The facility is expected to shut down completely within the next month.