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FT. WAYNE, Ind. -- Drivers in the Midwest have seen their fair share of 30-cent increases in gas prices this year, but one city has the distinct honor of having the wildest price fluctuations.
According to a blog post on GasBuddy.com, Ft. Wayne, Ind., recorded a single-day average price hike of 34 cents per gallon -- the most severe of its three highest daily changes and the steepest in the country.
Four other Midwest cities round out the top five single-day price hikes: Indianapolis (32 cents); Dayton, Ohio (31 cents); Columbus, Ohio (30 cents); and Toledo, Ohio (28 cents).
"While major markets like [Los Angeles, New York] and Chicago get much of the attention and criticism, they're not even in the top 20 among cities that see the steepest price hikes," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. "The steep price hikes recorded in more than 25 cities in the Midwest dwarf the increases seen in the rest of the country."
And it's not just less-populated markets like Fort Wayne absorbing the impact of the price fluctuations.
"While small cities lead the way among markets with the steepest price spikes, we saw some larger Midwestern cities like Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit positioned prominently among the leaders for days with 1-cent or more price increases, and that undoubtedly fuels consumer anxiety in places where there's plenty already," added Gregg Laskoski, also a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.
GasBuddy examined each region of the United States and then identified the cities with the highest single-day price gain by taking the average of the highest three daily spikes. These cities include:
- West Coast: Bakersfield, Calif.; 9 cents per gallon.
- Rocky Mountains: Colorado Springs, Colo.;11 cents per gallon.
- Gulf Coast: Lubbock, Texas; 14 cents per gallon.
- East Coast: Myrtle Beach, S.C.; 11 cents per gallon.
GasBuddy also examined the frequency of price changes and found that the Midwest and West Coast led the way with the number of days that prices changed a penny or more per gallon. Since Jan. 1, stations in Stockton, Calif., have seen 72 days of price changes of more than 1 cent per gallon, while Jackson, Miss., Memphis, Tenn., and New Haven, Conn., all recorded 67 days of this fluctuation.
Consumers tend to focus on their neighborhood and it becomes hard to imagine that anyone else has it worse, GasBuddy noted. "But when we look at the number of days with the average price decreases of more than a penny, we see the Midwestern cities more than doubling every other region in the country," DeHaan explained, "and it's the downside of that rollercoaster ride that consumers easily forget. We complain about the higher highs, but we're quiet when we benefit from the lower lows."
As CSNews Online previously reported, drivers across the country are generally paying less at the pump than they did one year ago, according to the latest AAA Fuel Gauge Report. In six states, five of them in the Midwest, prices are at least a quarter less per gallon: Indiana (minus 26 cents), California (minus 27 cents), Ohio (minus 28 cents), Wisconsin (minus 36 cents), Michigan (minus 37 cents) and Illinois (minus 40 cents). Only seven states are paying more for gas than a year ago: Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.