A major gasoline refinery shutdown in the Midwest has boosted retail gasoline prices by more than 20 cents a gallon in many markets throughout the Central U.S. in the last week, AAA reported today.
The projected six-month shutdown of a Citgo refinery due to structural problems caused by a fire on August 14, has created the exact market conditions analysts and the American Automobile Assn. (AAA) have been warning about for more than two years, said Susan Pikrallidas, AAA’s vice president of public affairs.
"The U.S. gasoline refining industry is stretched too thin to meet the needs of America's motorists at a consistent price, and as illustrated by this month's refinery fire the nation continues to be only one major supply disruption away from sky-rocketing gasoline prices and possible shortages," Pikrallidas said.
With retail gas prices over $1.70 per gallon in many midwestern cities, AAA called on the federal government to look for ways to streamline its overly complex system of regional gasoline standards, and carefully review the effects industry consolidation is having on consumer prices and supply.