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U.S. Gasoline Prices Nearing Six-Year High

Bad Gas

(Credit: CBS)

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By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — The average U.S. price for a gallon of gasoline is approaching its highest level in six years.

The average price in the United States is now $3.68 a gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The average is slightly higher in the Midwest: $3.71

If those prices rise just a few more cents, it will be most expensive since 2008.

A jump in crude, driven by concern that the crisis in Iraq will disrupt supplies, may boost pump prices by 10 cents a gallon at a time when they normally drop, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

In Chicago, which has the highest gasoline taxes in the nation, it is even worse.

At $4.15 a gallon, the price here has risen about 20 cents in the past month, according to Gas Buddy.

In Northwest Indiana, where taxes are lower than Cook County, gasoline is hovering around $4.

While the current U.S. average is nearing a six year high, the Chicago area set its all-time record in March, 2012 at $4.56 a gallon.

At that time, the U.S. average was around $3.95.

So why were gas prices so much higher in Chicago than everywhere else?

Analyst Phil Flynn told CBS 2 the reason is that Chicago gasoline itself is different.

“Chicago is special in very many ways. Sometimes we have Chicago pizza, hot dogs, you name it. We also have Chicago gasoline, and that is a boutique blend that’s a politically concocted blend of gasoline, that drives up prices every year,” Flynn said.

“And the other reason, of course, Chicago always seems to get hit, is we have some of the highest taxes in the nation – whether we’re talking about the Cook County tax, the state tax, the federal tax – you add it all together on top of the special blends of gasoline – it makes us particularly vulnerable to the price spikes that we saw just recently.”