Will Superstorm Sandy have Super Costs?

Not even the “Perfect Storm” of 1991 had this high of a price tag: Hurricane Sandy is now estimated to cost upwards of $20 billion. This is a huge jump up from predictions on October 26th that the estimated cost was $1 billion in damages. This storm now rivals storms like Hurricane Irene which caused $15 billion in damage and it is having a significant effect on our lives in two areas. The first is paying at the pump. Many Americans had prepared for the storm by stocking up on gas and taking advantage of the relatively low prices; the cost of a gallon decreased by 12 cents last week, more than at any one time in the previous 4 years. However, as of Friday, October 26th gas prices have seen a rise in price as refineries and companies anticipated the infrastructural and financial sting of the storm. Just after the end of the storm, gas prices are still rising. In New Jersey, 6 major refineries were hard hit and this has likely contributed to the increase. Additionally, about 6.5 million Americans living in the Northeast have been hit with downed electric lines and power outages, forcing communities to battle the weather without heat. This is a high price to pay for both companies and consumers in very complicated situation.

Certainly, more time is needed to assess the total cost of the various damages caused by Hurricane Sandy. As utility companies repair damages and communities in the Northeast share their stories, perhaps we can add up the costs- tangible and not- of the Frankenstorm.

Posted by: Sophia Higgins

Sources: Reuters, Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Time

Photo credit: NASA sees Hurricane Sandy @ photostream by Flickr user NASA Goddard Photo and Video

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