CHICAGO (CBS) — While the rest of the country, including Hawaii, enjoys the lowest springtime gas prices in three years, Chicago is leading the nation with the highest.
The average is now $4.25 a gallon.
And crude oil prices and wholesale gas prices are dropping.
Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at Gas Buddy, says refinery issues get much of the blame.
DeHaan was a guest today on the WBBM Noon Business Hour.
He noted that today is the first day that the EPA requires cleaner, summer-blend gasoline and says there have been some logistical issues.
He also says the recent storms disrupted some refineries and pipelines.
And, he says, inventory is tighter than normal.
All this, DeHaan says, is contributing to Chicago’s highest-in-the-nation prices.
DeHaan says in the 1980s there were 280 refineries in the U.S. Now, he says, there are 135, and when one goes down the impact is greater.
He says there is reason to believe there will be relief in the near future.
With the price of crude and the price of wholesale gas on the decline, he says, eventually the price at the pump will follow.
DeHaan says domestic oil production is on the increase, and that will help keep a lid on prices in the future.
Five years ago, he notes, North Dakota was producing 3 million barrels a month. Now, he says, it’s producing 30 million barrels a month.