Refinery outage contributes to spike in Midwest gas prices

BOSTON, (June 6) – The national average price of gas increased by 4 cents per gallon last week to $2.36 per gallon, but the largest price increases remain in the Midwest which has been impacted by an unplanned refinery outage at Marathon’s 144,000 barrels per day facility in Detroit and a concurrent jump in Chicago’s wholesale market which opened Monday with the highest wholesale gasoline prices in the country.

As a result, it’s the Midwestern region that show the greatest week-to-week increases in the nation: Ohio (+.12 cents per gal.); Michigan (+.10); Kentucky (+.10); Indiana (+.08).

In the Gulf Coast region where millions of Americans await Tropical Storm Colin’s arrival, retail gasoline prices also open the week notably higher than the national average, as Florida (+.10); Texas (+.06) and Louisiana (+.06) look to rebound from a wholesale spike last Wednesday.

Even though West Coast motorists should anticipate increases in the price at the pump concurrent with week-to-week increases in wholesale gasoline, they’re still enjoying prices that represent the greatest savings in the U.S. year-to-date. Compared to 2015, California’s statewide average today is 79 cents lower; Nevada (-.76); Alaska (-.75); Hawaii (-.59) and Oregon (-.54)

“There’s always a mixed bag of factors with the potential to disrupt retail gasoline… We saw last week end with notable, man-made incidents: a Union Pacific train carrying Bakken oil derailed in Portland, OR and a farmer in Western Michigan damaged a Wolverine pipe line carrying diesel, which resulted in approximately 8,400 gallons of diesel requiring clean-up,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, which supplies the data for’s Gas Gauge.

“But this week it’s the weather that warrants close scrutiny as the National Weather Service alerts us to Tropical Storm ‘Colin’ which they project has the potential to wreak havoc from Louisiana all the way up through the northeastern seaboard,” added Laskoski. “While adverse weather often reduces fuel demand in the short-term; summer storms in the Gulf of Mexico are always problematic for gasoline prices especially if they impact the concentration of refineries or cause coastal flooding or power outages.”

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