What’s fueling the gas price spike?

November 3, 2017 GMT

DeKALB – OK, summer’s over, hurricane season has long since died down, so why are gas prices rocketing through the roof?

For instance, unleaded gas that was $2.49.9 a gallon just a few days ago was $2.69.9 today in some places. The lowest gas price in DeKalb County, as of Friday morning, was $2.49 at FS Fast Stop, 880 N. Peace Road. No other gas stations were selling gas for less than $2.57 at that point.

According to GasBuddy, an online service dedicated to finding and reporting the cheapest gas prices nationwide, though, “nowhere in the country have motorists seen gasoline prices rising as fast as they have in the Great Lakes in recent days.


“Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois have been particularly hard hit this week, and gas prices may soon rise to their highest since 2015.”

Yeah, but why, you repeat with a moan?

According to Gas Buddy, the main reasons are refinery maintenance, a major pipeline outage, and low gasoline inventories.

1) The hell unleashed in late August by Hurricane Harvey prompted some refiners to push back maintenance to cover production losses from the affected area. That delayed maintenance now is getting in the way of other planned maintenance, condensing the season – the work needs to be done, and now.

2) The Explorer Pipeline, which has a capacity of nearly 700,000 barrels a day, sprung a leak last week, interrupting the flow of gas from the Gulf Coast. It’s not expected to be fixed for a few days yet, and it will be a few days more after that before its capacity is back to normal.

3) Thanks to reasons 1 and 2, gasoline inventories are at their lowest levels in more than 2 years.

Wholesale gasoline prices are up nearly 50 cents a gallon this week, in response to continued tightness in the region, and we, the Great Lakes region, don’t have what other regions do: the ability to resupply via waterborne shipments and pipeline deliveries, GasBuddy said.

That means prices in Illinois and the rest of the region “could soon jump to their highest levels since BP’s refinery outage in August, 2015. Prices in Illinois, mainly around Chicago, could exceed $3 per gallon.”

So if you’re waiting a few days to tank up, in the hopes prices will dip ... well, maybe don’t.