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Gas prices could have been lower, but a refinery fire kept them from dropping

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Lester Graham
/
Michigan Radio
If the BP Whiting Refinery goes back online this week, gasoline prices are expected to fall.

Last week there was a fire at the BP Whiting Refinery in Indiana near Lake Michigan.

Usually when a major refinery is out of commission, gas prices spike. So far, that’s not happened.

Part of the reason is just a couple of days before the refinery fire, wholesale gas prices dropped by 25 cents a gallon.

“When BP’s refinery went down and word spread, wholesale prices jumped about 30 cents a gallon. So much of the increase on Wednesday has been offset already,” explained Patrick DeHaan, the head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy.com.

He said BP is expected to restart production as soon as Wednesday.

“If they’re unable to, there is still the possibility that prices could go up more noticeably,” he added.

He added, though, it looks like there’s reason to be optimistic that we won’t see a big jump at the pump.

He said the next thing to consider is the hurricane season. If no refineries are shut down because of a hurricane, he thinks in November or December we could see prices falling closer to the $3.00 a gallon mark.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
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