Midwest Gas Prices Jump Due To New Refinery Problem

Aug. 18, 2015

(WASHINGTON, August 17, 2105) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline ended a 27-day streak of daily declines last week and has since increased for six straight days, AAA reports. Today’s average price of $2.67 per gallon is an increase of eight cents per gallon versus one week ago, due largely to a new refinery problem in the Midwest.

Despite recently rising prices, drivers are saving nine cents per gallon month-over-month and continue to enjoy significant yearly savings with today’s average discounted 79 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

Motorists in the Midwest are familiar with volatile prices during the summer driving season, yet it is very rare to see the magnitude of the price jumps that occurred over the past week, particularly in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Prices in the region moved markedly higher on the heels of news that BP had unexpectedly shutdown the largest of its three crude distillation units (CDU) at its Whiting, Indiana refinery on Saturday, August 8 for unscheduled repair work. BP is reportedly working to meet its fuel supply obligations and has yet to report when it expects the unit to resume production, though initial reports indicate it may take a month or longer to repair.

Retail averages on the West Coast also remain volatile due to changes in the balance between supply and demand. California ($3.58) remains the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline, and is joined by Alaska ($3.47), Nevada ($3.22), Hawaii ($3.20) and Illinois ($3.16) as the nation’s top five most expensive markets.  Consumers in South Carolina ($2.18) and Alabama ($2.21) are paying the nation’s lowest averages at the pump.