INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - 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
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
Tyner said scheduled maintenance work at BP's Whiting refinery in Northwest
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
“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
“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.”
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
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.