Gas prices jump 20 cents; why?

SANDUSKY Gassing up is a gamble these days. Waiting a day can cost a lot. Throughout the Sandu
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Gassing up is a gamble these days.

Waiting a day can cost a lot.

Throughout the Sandusky area, the price of gas jumped from an average of $2.99 Wednesday to an average of $3.19 Thursday.

"It seems like every time Thursday rolls around, gas prices go up," said Tom Grahm, of Sandusky. "It's been like this forever."

Sandusky's average is considerably higher than the Ohio and national gas averages, said Joanna Herncane, AAA spokesperson. The U.S. average is $2.99 and the Ohio average is $2.98.

The price of gas is going to affect a lot of people, Grahm said.

"It's going to hurt the business owners," Grahm said. "Customers will use that money to fill their gas tanks."

Todd Smith, of Clyde, drives 20 miles to work and uses a tank of gas every week.

"It kind of hurts the paycheck," Smith said. "If it keeps going up, I'm going to be looking for something closer."

Before Thursday, September 2005 saw the highest recorded prices for gas throughout the country. In Toledo, the average gas price was $3.08 on Sept. 3, 2005. Sandusky's average gas price was not available.

"Around this time of year, gas prices usually increase March, April and May," Herncane said.

Terry Fleming, executive director of the Ohio Petroleum Council, said the gas hike could be the result of a broken pipeline.

The pipeline, which was damaged Wednesday, transports gasoline from the Gulf of Mexico to gas terminals in northwest Ohio and Michigan. As a result, gasoline stations can't get any fuel. Fleming is not sure when the pipeline will be repaired.

"If (gas companies) think there'll be short-time shortages, they'll cut back on deliveries to make sure everyone gets fuel," Fleming said. "Prices will go up to discourage people from buying gasoline or topping off."

Also, BP refineries in Whiting, Indiana, and Toledo that supply fuel to the northwest Ohio region, are in the midst of their annual maintenance to prepare for the summer.

Another factor is that refineries are at 90 percent capacity, about 5 percent below levels last year, Herncane said.

Also, refineries are switching to a "cleaner-burning summer fuel" in preparation for summer driving, which kicks off Memorial Day.

"They're always making excuses for gas companies and pass it on to us," Grahm said. "They're getting carried away."

Herncane said it's difficult to determine if gas prices will continue to soar through the summer.

"There's no way of knowing," Herncane said. "There are too many different and changing factors that influence gas prices to make accurate predictions for future pricing."