Gasoline Prices Up Sharply in C-U and Great Lakes Region
The price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline rose to an average of $3.96.9 at the start of the week --- according to GasBuddy.com. That average had dropped by three-cents as of Tuesday, March 6. But that's still an increase of more than a quarter a gallon, according to the gas-price-tracking website.
GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan said several factors are contributing to high gas prices, including concerns about Iran, and problems with oil refinery and pipelines. DeHaan said that refinery capacity in the Great Lakes states typically shrinks this time of year, as refineries shut down for maintenance, in preparation for summer gas production.
"Some of it's planned --- like Citgo just disclosed that they're going to work on their plant in April," DeHaan said. "But as they restart their facilities, and tweak them for summer gasoline, we do have some unexpected issues that creep up."
The Citgo refinery is located in Lemont, west of Chicago. Other refineries in the region are located in northwest Indiana, the St. Louis/Metro East area, southern Indiana and near Toledo Ohio. DeHaan says he doesn't expect the sharp increases in gasoline prices to occur every week --- but he does think another spike is possible later this month.
GasBuddy is currently projecting nationwide gasoline prices to reach $3.75 to $4.15 a gallon by mid-May. But DeHaan said if the current round of price hikes continue, they may have to revise that projection upward.