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10 years later, Hurricane Katrina still affects gas prices

In this Aug. 13, 2015 photo, cash and credit prices price for gasoline are shown at two gas stains in Seattle. Washington state recently approved a 16-year, $16 billion transportation plan that raises fuel taxes, vehicle fees and bonding. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

WASHINGTON — It was one of the worst natural disasters in American history, but 10 years later, the impact of Hurricane Katrina can still be felt.

“Katrina changed the economic paradigm, in terms of gas prices in this country,” said John B. Townsend II, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “It was the first time we ever saw the national average price of gasoline hit $3 and above.”

Since then, gas prices have averaged more than $3 per gallon for regular fuel multiple times.

At one supermarket in Waldorf, Maryland, the gas prices rose from $2.62 per gallon on Aug. 30, 2005 to $3.41 on Sept. 1, 2005, according to AAA.

In 2004, the average price for a gallon of regular was $1.94 nationwide.

“Less than three years after Katrina hit, we paid prices of $3 or more for 244 days in a row,” Townsend said.

In 2008, three local jurisdictions soared beyond $4 per gallon.

In May 2011, gas prices in D.C. rose to $4.21 per gallon.

Eventually, though, people got used to the $3 per gallon and made life adjustments for the added costs.

Now, local gas prices are less than $3 per gallon and could go lower.

“I think we’ll get a reprieve, and in many parts of the country, gas prices will fall below $2 per gallon before this year is over.”

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