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5 reasons why gasoline prices will drop

Reason No. 4: No major disasters
Reason No. 4: No major disasters © Matt Trommer/Shutterstock.com

Call it an unfortunate quirk of nature: The Gulf of Mexico is home to some of the most promising oil fields in the world. It's also especially vulnerable to hurricanes.

That makes the Gulf a rich and perilous place for satisfying America's energy needs.

A well-placed storm can cripple thousands of oil rigs in a weekend, and occasionally one does. Gas prices usually spike in reaction as nervous refineries and petroleum traders gauge how long the supply disruption will last.

For example, in August 2012, gasoline prices surged as Hurricane Isaac whipped through the Gulf and shut down plants pumping 1.3 million barrels per day in refining capacity. In 2005, gas prices jumped more than 46 cents in the week after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, according to EIA data.

This year, Mother Nature has given the Gulf a break. The Atlantic saw only nine named storms, according to the National Hurricane Center. Only two -- Ingrid and Humberto -- were hurricanes, and neither impacted Gulf oil operations.

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