While the storm may be over, the effects of Hurricane Harvey are still being felt across Texas. With flooding, loss of life, and extensive property damage in Houston, the problems caused by the Category 4 hurricane are not going to go away overnight.

Harvey’s Impact on the oil industry

But it isn’t just those living in and around the Texas coast line who have been affected. In fact, the storm’s economic effects have been felt across the nation. Cities on the Texas coast, Houston in particular, are major hubs for the oil industry. Some of the nation’s largest refineries reside there, and as a result, Hurricane Harvey’s effects have halted a major segment of oil production.

This has caused a supply shock, driving up gas prices across the country and fueling fears of a shortage in Texas. Numerous instances of long lines at gas stations and pumps running out of fuel have been reported, especially in Austin and Dallas.

Hysteria or actual shortage? Separating truth from fear

News reports have portrayed two versions of this story, and the truth lies somewhere in between. Some say that it is just mass hysteria and that there is no real shortage. Others have said that the gas supply is, in fact, running low. Neither of these is entirely accurate. There is no supply shortage of gasoline. But the flooding and damage caused by the storm have caused logistical issues, making it difficult to distribute fuel.

People rushing to the pumps is not the cause of this problem, but it is making it a worse.

Steps you can take

While the effects of this are expected to be short lived, with prices and availability returning to normal by next week, many people are nonetheless affected. What to do about this is an important question for many Texans, and the answer depends on personal circumstances.

If you don’t absolutely need gas, it is best to avoid getting it, as this exacerbates the issue. However, if you absolutely must get gas (if you are planning to go out of town for example), then get it while it is still available. Only buy the amount of gas you need, and try to conserve whenever possible.

Future implications

But what Hurricane Harvey demonstrated is not limited to its immediate effects.

What is happening now shows how powerful mother nature is, how reliant humans have become on modern conveniences, and what could be in store if appropriate preparations are not made in disaster prone areas. Things like global warming and land development in flood prone areas are important to focus on. Mankind cannot control nature, but lives can be saved if everyone does their part to adapt to what nature throws our way.

Hurricane Harvey was a tragic event. But the people affected have proven resilient, determined, and willing to lend each other helping hands. Dealing with this has not been easy, but communities pulling together is how great obstacles can be overcome.