The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

March 28, 2012

Experts: Midwest gas prices 'nuts'

OTTUMWA — Gasoline prices across the Midwest are going nuts, a petroleum analyst said this week as a gallon of fuel shot past the $4-per-gallon mark.

Prices in Traverse City, Mich., jumped between 15 and 25 cents, hitting $4.15 a gallon or more at the pump. Similar jumps have been recorded across Indiana.

“The Midwest is nuts the way gas prices are going right now,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com.

Prices aren’t quite as high in southeast Iowa, but that’s cold comfort for drivers who have had to shell out increasing amounts of money to fill their tanks.

In Ottumwa, prices listed at GasBuddy.com on Wednesday hovered at $3.84 per gallon. That’s up in the past couple days. The site listed prices in Oskaloosa, which usually run slightly lower than Ottumwa, at the same amount.

Centerville appeared to be on the rise, with a single station listed at $3.74 per gallon. The other stations were 10 cents higher.

The website showed prices in Pella at $3.79 per gallon on Wednesday, but did not list any Knoxville prices.

Experts said oil prices remain escalated at around $107 per barrel, but they don’t believe the sudden spike is related to an oil price hike or any new bottlenecks in production at gasoline refineries.

“Profit-taking is what it is,” said Jason Toews, co-founder of GasBuddy.com, a website that tracks gas prices and trends across the U.S. Toews said gasoline prices in Michigan and other Midwest states tend to jump quickly and fall back more slowly, unlike other parts of the U.S. where more competition among gas stations and their parent companies creates more-gradual price changes.

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