Just last week, the experts predicted we’d likely see gas selling at two-bucks a gallon in Iowa this fall, but Rose White, spokeswoman for AAA-Iowa, says equipment problems at an oil refinery near Chicago are causing prices at the pump to rise.
“There was a major refinery issue at a major plant in Indiana and it’s already caused price jumps of 34-to-50-cents at some retail outlets in the Great Lakes states.”
It may take several weeks to a month to get the problems resolved at the BP refinery, the largest of its kind in the Upper Midwest. Gail Weinholzer, at AAA-Iowa, says the refinery troubles are having an impact here. “We have seen a slight increase in Iowa but nothing as significant as the folks are seeing in Michigan and Illinois,” Weinholzer says. “We’ve seen prices in Iowa bump up 10 to 20 cents (a gallon) over the last couple of days.”
Crude oil prices are still low, she says, it’s the refinery issues that are causing prices to escalate. Crude oil inventories are 20-percent higher than a year ago. Weinholzer says once the refinery is back online, we should see the cost of filling our tanks start to spiral. “We expect prices to continue to decline into the fall and perhaps even accelerate,” Weinholzer says, “because that’s when we start the switch-over from the summer- to the winter-grade fuels.”
The statewide average price for a gallon of self-serve unleaded is now $2.66. That’s gone up six-cents a gallon since Thursday. The national average is $2.65.
Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this story.