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The prices could rise even higher going into the Labor Day weekend. This is an increase over Thursday's average of $2.44 per gallon.

The nationwide price at the pump has set a new high for 2017, topping $2.50 for the time in two years.

The loss of refining capacity pressured oil prices this week, with crude supplies expected to rise as refining demand declines.

"Part of it is Dallas is supplied by a pipeline from Corpus Christi, and of course those pipelines have been down", said Lipow. When everyone rushes to a gas station to top off their auto, it drains pumps quicker than tanker trucks can replenish them. Some gulf refineries are already starting to come back on-line.

On top of that, the Colonial Pipeline, which sends millions of gallons of gasoline a week from Texas to NY and New Jersey, is also closed temporarily due to the refinery shutdowns.

Shawn Osborn, a mechanic at Larry H. Miller, said you can improve your gas economy by taking simple steps.

The effect of Hurricane Harvey on Northwest gas prices has so far been minimal, though states in the Southeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic are seeing price spike.

"Capitalism can be pretty cruel", he said.

Motorists were lining up for gasoline in Dallas, where prices jumped from an average $2.37 per gallon Thursday to $2.52 per gallon by Friday, according to AAA.

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The rush to higher prices here over the last 24 hours began when Speedway, owned by Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Corp., pushed prices at many of its hundreds of stations to $2.59 a gallon on Thursday.

"As in any national or local state of emergency, AAA expects gas prices to be held in check up and down the gasoline supply chain, including prices set by refiners, distributors and dealers unless there is a clearly justifiable reason for an increase", added Casselano. "But [prices] will remain above pre-Harvey [levels] for at least a few weeks".

Gas prices spiked overnight and are up about 17 cents a gallon since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas. Those lines transports 40 percent of the South's gasoline.

The largest refinery in the United States, located in Port Arthur, Texas, was among the shuttered.

Harvey's wet blanket could reduce the number of holiday travelers by the hundreds of thousands, largely because of the reduction in the numbers of travelers in and around and to and from Texas and Louisiana, travel industry observers suggest.

"It makes the situation in the Northeast and along the eastern seaboard very precarious", McTeague said.

"But by mid-September, we believe prices will start to drop and alleviate some of the pressure on consumers' wallets".

"This is going to be a long-lasting disruption that will continue to dog the region of the Gulf Coast and the East Coast", he said. Triple AAA said gas prices should go back down in around a month.