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Indiana gas prices soar to 50 cents above U.S. average

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Indiana's average gas price soared Wednesday to nearly $4.16 a gallon, putting the state some 50 cents above the national average in a surge one economist blamed on "a perfect storm of refinery outages."

The website Gasbuddy.com said Indiana's average price of a gallon of unleaded regular gas was about $4.16 Wednesday afternoon, compared with the national average of about $3.64 a gallon. Indiana's highest average gas price was set in May 2011, when it reached $4.26 a gallon, the website states.

Purdue University economist Wally Tyner said Indiana's gas prices had already been rising, but the average price increased about a dime Wednesday alone. He said he's never seen such a large price gap between Indiana's average and the U.S. average.

The surge at the pump comes just as many Indiana families are embarking on summer vacations.

Tyner said scheduled maintenance work at BP's Whiting refinery in northwestern Indiana and at Exxon Mobil's refinery in Joliet, Ill., was already taking longer than expected — reducing regional gas supplies — when a Marathon oil refinery in Detroit was hit by a late April fire and other refineries had some glitches.

"It's a just a perfect storm of refinery outages," he said. "All these other things had been there, but then the Detroit fire was the straw that broke the camel's back. We've just had a series of unlucky draws."

Tyner recently said he expected this summer's Midwestern gas prices to be lower than last summer's. He said the maintenance work at the BP Whiting refinery had reduced its gas output by about two-thirds before the Detroit refinery fire and the Joliet refinery's ongoing maintenance combined to shrink gas supplies and boost prices.

Tyner said it could take a few weeks for gas prices to drop as the regional refineries come back to full production. Until then, people planning Midwestern vacations will be paying significantly more for gas than other Americans.

"If you're vacationing, once you're out of here you're OK," he said.

Gasbuddy.com on Wednesday showed that Michigan's average gas price was about $4.21 a gallon, Illinois' average price was $4.18 a gallon and Kentucky had an average of nearly $3.63 a gallon.

Indiana's highest average gas prices were in the state's northern region, with the highest about $4.25 a gallon in Gary and South Bend — and the lowest, in Evansville, at nearly $3.78.

Michael Green, a AAA spokesman, said the Midwestern surge in gas prices had prompted many Americans to postpone travel plans while they wait for prices to drop.

"The sad fact is that motorists are in a wait-and-see mode, waiting for refineries to increase production. This is very frustrating for people taking their summer trips," he said.

Green said the hope is that the affected refineries can ramp up their production during June, helping alleviate the supply problems. He said BP Whiting and Exxon Mobil's Joliet plant are two of the nation's largest oil refineries.

Minnesota and North Dakota recently set record high average gas prices after the cost of a gallon of gas in those states soared between 60 cents and 80 cents a gallon, he said.

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  • DUH
    I seem to recall a government and dictator that killed off thousands of his own people by poisinous gas. This country got involved when Hitler was killing off innocent people. Should we have stayed out of that? Mrs. Hiliary and all the idiot LIBS voted to go to war as well. Bush did not use "Executive Priviledge" to go to Iraq like that Muslim we have in office now does everytime a vote does not go his way.
    • excuses pt 2
      I agree...it is obviously the oil companies, but the oil companies were the same culprit when George was in office, but he was blamed by the liberals and dumbocrats. My point today is simple...Bush was considered the devil for everything that happened while he was in office, and Nobama is getting a pass. Do I need to go into "wire taping"? Nobama...EPIC FAILURE!!!
    • JEB
      I seem to recall a war started by Bush in the middle east involving an oil-producing country that was not responsible for Sept 11.
      • Logic
        Any question about logic... What is the logic behind putting this epic failure in office for a second term? I believe all logic went out the window last November. By the way, Bushes last month in office...gas was under $1.60 per gallon (Indianagas prices.com). Now it is $4.26. Where the hell do you get .50 cents?
      • excuses pt 2
        I'm sure the oil companies are very happy that they can raise prices at will, and folks will be happy to blame the govt rather than the real culprits. Just wait until their next quarterly earnings report.
        • johnrep
          You can ask me about my rant anytime. THE SAME THING THAT BUSH HAD TO DO WITH IT WHEN HE WAS IN OFFICE. The difference is Bush addressed it and made some effort in fixing. Nobama has it happening during his watch, and does nor says anything. ANY MORE QUESTIONS??
        • Logic
          Sorry to interrupt your rant, but please tell me what the President has to do with gas prices in Indiana being .50 higher than national average?
          • DC Indy
            I have a black helicopter flying around in my black cloud as we speak!!!
          • time for a change
            Isn't this why so many &%&%^&* voted for Nobama...(time for a change). This is the change, more money stolen by our government for hard working Americans and given to lazy, jobless losers that think government is there to pay your way. Go NOBAMA! Keep ruining our country.
          • Loose Lips
            You all better tow the line and blame this on Bush! Be veery careful about what you say about Obama. He's got Eric Holder and his men following your every word -- right now -- but you won't find out about it until it gets leaked to the U.K. Guardian sometime next Summer. By the way, they always shut the refineries down for maintenance this time of year. The union people want to be off in the Summer, when it's nice out. Winter
            • Use your head Pink
              Prices of gas have nothing to do with Republicans. What are you thinking? What happens when you have republicans running the state is $200.00 refunds on your taxes, a surplus, and jobs. Nobama is out of control and he needs to go. I should be careful...I have a Verizon phone and probably a drone flying over me now.
            • Nobama and prices
              Brandon, look around you. Since Nobama has been in office our taxes have gone up, our healthcare costs have gone up, gas has continued to go up even though it was $3.05 per gallon in my little Indiana rural town (not below $3.00 at all this year), groceries have gone up, the amount of people on welfare has gone up, interests rates on government funded school loans are doubleing, more phone conversations are being recorded, the IRS is cheating conservatives only, Job creation is a joke...STOP defending this epic failure. Our gas prices are not going down because your god, Nobama, wants us to rely on those dorky smart cars. As long as gas is high, in Nobama's opinion, everyone will side with him on his energy disaster, I mean energy legislation. William is RIGHT. Everything that happended while Bush was in office was blown way out of porportion by dumbocrats. The same things are happening, but on a much bigger scale, and all I hear on the news is "crickets".Nobama is a liar, a cheat, a thief, a socialist, oh and an attorney, and as dumbocrats called George Bush, Nobama has to be an "oilman"!!
            • PinkBear
              Illinois has higher gas prices currently than Indiana and it's a democratic state. So how is it that republicans are at fault for this?
            • William Walter
              Your argument about the election is invalid when you consider gas prices in many stations in the Indy metro dropped below $3 a gallon this past January and February, their lowest points in quite a while. Also, any stories about the price of gas I read when Bush was in office said the same things about the reason that stories today do. The only ones that blamed Bush were editorial/opinion columns by liberals, just like now the only columns blaming Obama are editorial/opinion columns by conservatives.
            • Republican State Government
              This is what you get when you have a Republic state government. They are not going to call their primary donors to task. Gas is cheaper in California than in Indiana now.
              • Attorney General wake up and do your job
                Our AG is supposed to monitor the gas industry to protect the public-seems they are too busy elsewyere suing the feds for dumb reasons and not awake when the gas gougers are awake and active. Time for a change is here..CEW
                • It's All In The Game
                  The last time gas was this high, oil prices were at $ 155. Today oil is less than $ 95, yet pump prices continue to rise at 10% jumps. Did anyone notice that around election day, the cost of oil was what it is today yet gas was almost $ 1 less per gallon and began to rise immediately following the president's re-election. Could there have been an agreement with big oil to keep the cost low with the promise that following his victory, the oil companies would be given a free hand to line there pockets at the public's expense. The months since seem to support this. Based on oil prices, gas has been overpriced about 20% since then. Even a year ago, oil was down at $70 and but you would not have known that based on gas at the pump which was overpriced by almost a $1 a gallon. Under the Bush administration, when gas cost was at this level, it was the lead story on every newscast and front page on each and every liberal newspaper, and every story blamed Bush. Now that we have the protected president in office, who is held responsible for nothing, there are zero stories. If one does slip passed the editor's pen, it defends the president and says he has no control over it which is a complete contradiction to what they claimed with Bush. We all pay the price for the volcano of dishonesty flowing from the White House, and all we hear from Mr. Obama is "I didn't know anything about it". It is amazing that the man who said that when he was elected the clouds rolled back and the ocean's parted, and then self proclaimed himself as one of history's greatest presidents is constantly unaware of anything "bad" that happens just outside the oval office.
                  • Well....
                    I'm glad I biked today!
                    • List of excuses
                      Always seems to be a conveniently timed 'refinery outage'. Guess they are tired of using the 'summer blend' excuse. Does not matter that we are pumping plenty of oil here in US, if prices get too low it is time to schedule 'refinery maintenance'.

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