Will Hurricane Irene water down gas prices across the nation, or will the storm force prices into an upward spiral? It's a bit early to know for sure, but previous hurricanes have sometimes caused a run up in prices, and in advance of Irene's landfall there was a small spike in gas futures.
However, now that Irene has finished her trip up the East Coast, the blog Infrastructuralist has a theory about the storm's effect on gas prices. In two words: not much.
Unlike hurricanes that hit the Gulf region hard in recent years, Irene did little damage to either oil platforms or refineries. There may be some local areas where transportation is affected, and with commuters in some cities driving to get around stalled transit systems while others sit home to wait out flooded roads, there could be some regional effects. For now, there's nothing to suggest that Irene will have a major impact on prices. Thus, when it comes to gas prices, this storm will probably be, well, a wash.