News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

June 15, 2014

Gas prices jump for summer

Iraq tension adds to cost; Midwest prices higher than national average

TERRE HAUTE — A week ago marked the 50th anniversary of the modern remote access self-serve fueling station, a site many Hoosier motorists may find hard on the wallet this summer as little relief is forecasted for high gasoline prices, according to AAA and GasBuddy.com.

For more than two weeks, Indiana, as well as Michigan and Wisconsin, have posted double-digit increases, with Indiana up 15 cents, according to AAA’s fuel gauge report.

Gasoline prices in Terre Haute on Sunday ranged from $3.88 to $3.95 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline, according to GasBuddy.com, a website that tracks gas prices nationally.

“It is ridiculous. We live close to Paris, Illinois, and prices there stay more consistent and level. Our prices go way up and down and are just all over the place,” said Kim Harney of Shirkieville as she filled up with gasoline at a Speedway station at 25th and Hulman streets in Terre Haute on Sunday.

“We do a lot of driving, just going back and forth to work,” she said. “Any increase is not good. This is just so high … but you gotta drive.”

Charles Pitts of Terre Haute, who was filling up his van at a nearby pump, agreed.

“It is high, and there is no reason for it. I think it proves how inefficient our government is,” Pitts said. “We should be using more of our domestic oil supply.”

Indiana’s statewide average was $3.89 this week for regular unleaded gasoline, which is lower than the year-ago average of $3.93, but still higher than the nationwide average of $3.65.

This time last year, AAA reports the Great Lakes region of Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan had near-record high prices because of supply and transportation issues caused from unscheduled refinery maintenance in January and February.

As of last week, Hawaii, California and Alaska were paying an average price of $4 per gallon, with Hawaii within 25 cents of that state’s record price of $4.61, set on April 11, 2012, according to AAA’s fuel gauge report.

Prices were stable in 35 states and the District of Columbia, with the remainder of the nation seeing a slight decrease last week, according to AAA.

However, growing tensions in Iraq have pushed crude oil prices to 10-month highs, pushing U.S. oil prices up about 4 percent, and could have an impact on gas prices yet this summer. Iraqi oil production has been cut 10 percent, or about 300,000 barrels per day, since March.

Still, most of that reduction has been in the northern part of Iraqi. The vast majority of Iraq’s more than 3 million barrels per day of oil — about 2.5 million barrels a day of that amount — comes from southern parts of that country.

Zee Singh, manager of the Marathon station at the intersection of Seventh and Hulman streets in Terre Haute, said he thinks the U.S. should increase its own oil production.

“We don’t know how much Iraqi oil would come to us here, maybe none. We should not  make that as an excuse. We just need to increase our own supply and drop the gas price down,” Singh said.

“Our price went up Friday [June 13] from $3.69 to $3.95 a gallon, just like that,” Singh said.

Despite the unrest in Iraq, oil prices at $113 per barrel, remain below levels that could slow the world economy, according to AAA. Also, growing oil production in Canada and in the U.S. has cut American oil imports.

Gasoline prices, according to GasBuddy.com, could still potentially reach new highs if the conflict in Iraq continues. The conflict, according to GasBuddy.com, is likely to drive the price of regular unleaded gasoline up 5 to 10 cents a gallon and keep summer prices elevated.

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