Hurricane Ian Was Bad…and Gas & Grocery Bills May Be Bad Because of It

Jeeva Nandham/
Jeeva Nandham/

Hurricane Ian slammed into southwest Florida as a Major Category 4 hurricane. When it made landfall, the sustained winds were at speeds of 150 miles per hour. Millions are without power and internet – and the storm surges have led to deaths and people now realizing that they are homeless.

As if things weren’t bad enough, there’s also the new fear – essentials are going to be even more expensive than they were before the hurricane struck.

President Joe Biden has already pledged that there would be federal assistance for the state of Florida. He has also warned oil and gas companies not to raise the prices. At an event this past Wednesday in Washington DC, Biden warned, “Do not, let me repeat, do not use this as an excuse to raise gasoline prices or gouge the American people.”
Fortunately, the storm avoided some of the key oil-producing states like Texas and Louisiana.

Andy Lipow is an oil analyst as well as the president of Lipow Oil Associates. He says that the storm won’t have any impact. Why? Florida isn’t a major producer of oil, and they don’t host any oil refineries. They produce maybe 6,000 barrels of oil a day. It’s such a tiny fraction that it won’t even cause a blip.

Pavel Molchanov is a senior energy analyst with Raymond James, and he agrees with Lipow. When Molchanov spoke with ABC News, he said, “Just as a matter of geography, there is no direct effect on the oil and gas market.”

While we shouldn’t have to worry about seeing an increase in gas prices, what about food?
It’s important to look at Florida’s top exports to determine how the hurricane will affect the supply chain for the rest of the country. The Sunshine State is not a major supplier of food – they aren’t known for producing wheat or anything else – at least not in such quantities that it would lead to higher prices.

Florida’s only food that they export that could be impacted is citrus – including oranges and grapefruits. Depending on the level of damage the citrus groves have experienced, there could be some price hikes.

Otherwise, Hurricane Ian won’t have an impact on what you spend at the grocery store.
Farmers around the country may be slightly impacted, however. The reason for this is because the state does produce fertilizer. Actually, Mosaic, a single company, is responsible for producing approximately half of the phosphate fertilizer used by North America. If there is any damage to their facilities, it could lead to a temporary disruption within the fertilizer market.

Right now, it’s still too early to know how the prices will be affected. Many throughout Florida are still waiting for the water to recede so that they can assess the full level of damage. Once it’s been a full week since the eye of Hurricane Ian passing through, the true economic impact will be known.

If you’re in Florida, keep a close eye on price gouging – and report it whenever you see it happening. If you’re anywhere else in the United States, know that if you see an increase in your grocery bill, it’s likely not because of Hurricane Ian but for countless other reasons thanks to Joe Biden’s liberal policies.