Updated 08/28/12 – 4:31 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS)– Hurricane Isaac is expected to create a spike in prices at the pump.
The storm is forcing several major refineries along the Gulf Coast to stop production.
In addition to Isaac, Midwest gas prices are being impacted by refinery issues in our area, as well as a fire at one of the world’s largest refineries in Venezuela.
Add that to the normally high Labor Day weekend demand, and GasBuddy.com analyst Patrick DeHaan said you can expect gas prices already averaging $4.20 to $4.30 in Chicago to jump anywhere from 10 to 30 cents over the next couple of weeks.
Prices will then slowly fall though the month of September.
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“Yesterday, the largest single-day increase in wholesale gasoline prices in over a year took place and so that means there is a significant amount of upward pressure that retail stations are facing,” DeHaan said.
Motorist Mia Moore said, “It was like $70 just to fill this car up.”
The rising prices have drivers looking for the best deals. For some Chicagoans, that means heading to the suburbs to save a few bucks.
Chicago resident Oscar Wells said, “If I didn’t have a bad leg, I would get a bicycle.”
PRICE Futures Group oil analyst Phil Flynn said, unfortunately, it’s only going to get worse in the near future.
“The volatility that I’ve seen on the Chicago gas market is unlike anything I have ever seen,” he said. “Here in the Chicago area, because of the volatility, we could see prices go up 10, 20, 30 cents a gallon.”
Talk about sticker shock. Try breaking that news to cash-strapped drivers already paying as much as $4.50 a gallon at some Chicago gas stations.
“I’ll be on public transportation all the time. No more driving,” student Bethanie Feteau said. “It’s terrible. I mean, it’s going to mess up my commute, but I can’t afford it. It’s just too much.”
Others said public transportation is just not an option for them, so that’s going to mean tough choices.
Joan Saltzman said, “I have to drive my car, and there are a lot of other people who have to drive their cars; so you just give up something else.
Wells said, “Some people I know would have to cut down on their meds in order to drive.”
There could be some relief after Labor Day, in part because of a change over to cheaper winter blend gasoline.