(CBS) – The summer driving season is months away — and gas prices are already soaring.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley tells us what’s behind the spike.
Whether you drive a cab or just cart around your kids, Chicagoans are noticing the pain from higher gas prices.
The average Chicago price for regular gas has gone up 33 cents a gallon in just four weeks. Nervousness about Ukraine, and access to Russian oil, is helping push prices up.
But the biggest factor is the seasonal maintenance on refineries, and the slow changeover to a summer blend.
“As that maintenance goes on, refineries are shutting down part of their facilities, and that obviously moves some supply from the equation,” says industry analyst Patrick DeHaan of gasbuddy.com.
Prices are shooting up, despite the boom in American and Canadian oil production.
“A lot of it is being refined by refineries along the coast of Texas, and then it’s leaving the country, going over to Europe, and that’s keeping prices high here,” DeHaan says.
Limiting or prohibiting U.S. oil exports altogether would bring domestic gas prices down, but there seems to be no political will for that.
The good news is, gas prices aren’t expect to reach last year’s record of $4.50 a gallon. In fact, like last year, prices are expected to drop between Memorial Day and July 4.