Pharos-Tribune

August 22, 2013

Review: Indiana cities have worst gas price spikes

Great Lakes see largest fluctuations.


Pharos-Tribune

---- — INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Have you thought price spikes at the gas pump have been terrible this year?

Well, it turns out you were right. After analyzing markets across the country, GasBuddy.com has determined Indianapolis has experienced the second-highest single-day average price hike this year — a whopping 32 cents per gallon. Only Fort Wayne is higher at 34 cents per gallon.

The Great Lakes states have seen the largest price fluctuations in the country as suppliers and retailers continually test the market in a competitive region, analysts say. It’s been worse this year, they say, because the supply dwindled after two refinery closures and one refinery fire.

The cost figures represent the average of the three highest single-day price spikes.

“Indianapolis is one of the most competitive markets in the Great Lakes,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “Prices are constantly on the move, they are very volatile, and they probably will be for some time.”

Gas prices soared above $4 per gallon in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin after a fire broke out at a Marathon refinery in Detroit in late April, while scheduled maintenance already had reduced production at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Joliet, Ill., and a BP refinery in Whiting.

No other place in the country experienced such large price hikes. The highest gain on the West Coast was 9 cents in Bakersfield, Calif. The highest along the Gulf Coast was 14 cents in Lubbock, Texas. Myrtle Beach, S.C., led the East Coast at 11 cents. In the Rocky Mountains region, Colorado Springs, Colo., posted a high of 11 cents.

Regardless of stalled refineries, DeHaan said, Indiana and its neighbors are naturally in a competitive market that has the region on a roller coaster of price fluctuations unlike anywhere else in the country. After a price spike, he said, gas stations and suppliers begin gradually lowering prices until they hit rock bottom.

And then, he said, the prices spike again.

Hoosiers don’t have much to complain about now. The average price here Tuesday was $3.44 per gallon compared with $3.57 nationally.

But, he said, don’t expect that to last. Prices won’t stabilize in the Great Lakes anytime soon.

“That’s just where you are on the roller coaster. You’re on the underside of the national average, but you’ll shoot over the national average again.”

Check out area gas prices. Local A3