Uncertainty over the supply of gas, with the potential disruption of refinery operations on the Gulf Coast, led to a jump in gas prices by as much as 15 cents a gallon overnight Monday, according to Mike Right vice president of public Affairs of AAA Missouri.
Officials from AAA have said that Hurricane Issac, which is currently ripping across the Gulf of Mexico, will shut down offshore oil rigs.
The National Hurricane Center upgraded the tropical storm to a hurricane on Tuesday with 74 to 95 mph winds. It is expected to hit from an area southwest of New Orleans to the edge of Florida's panhandle.
The cheapest unleaded gas available in as of Monday afternoon is $3.69 per gallon, at the BP on Olive, which means gas could reach almost $4 by Sept. 3. Last year at this time, AAA reported the average U City gas price was $3.46
Tropical Storm Isaac targeted a broad swath of the Gulf Coast on Monday, bearing down just ahead of the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Right doesn't expect the jump in gas prices to last long, probably coming back down by the Labor Day weekend.
"Hopefully that's the end of it," he said. "It (higher gas prices) doesn't look like it will be a long term thing."
However, Right said much will depend on the severity of Tropical Storm Isaac and how much or how little damage it does to the oil refineries on the Gulf Coast.
As for Labor Day as a benchmark for a change in gas prices, Right said the price "goes up as often as it goes down."
"What's driving the price right now is the potential disruption of supply."