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WHITING, Ind. — Oil prices at the pump have jumped sharply higher recently in the Great Lakes region after a BP refinery here had a partial shutdown due to “unexpected repair work.”
According to GasBuddy.com, consumers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois are all suffering at the pump, with gas prices quickly rising 30 cents per gallon. Several stations saw prices rise as high as $3 per gallon of regular gas, with more price hikes expected to continue in the near future.
"It's a big deal," Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy's senior petroleum analyst, told The Associated Press. "It's the region's largest refinery made up of multiple units, and this is the largest unit. ... The market is certainly [experiencing] some panic buying, and that's represented in retail prices."
Louisville, Ky.-based convenience store operator Thorntons Inc., which operates many locations in the Great Lakes Region, alerted customers in a news release that gas prices will be on the rise.
“We strive to provide the best choice in fuel and convenience. Due to these unforeseen circumstances, fuel prices will unavoidably be affected in the coming days,” said Tony Harris, President of Thorntons. “While we are never happy about increasing prices, we are proud to offer great cost saving benefits to our Refreshing Rewards guests.”
The news comes as gas prices have continued to fall throughout the rest of the country. In fact, gas prices are projected to drop even more as demand declines in the fall season.
Despite the BP Whiting partial refinery shutdown, DeHaan told The AP that gas prices should still decline by the end of the year.
"I believe this refinery issue to be a speed bump — albeit a large speed bump — on the road to lower prices," DeHaan said. "I still expect gas prices to come down ... and, as we approach Christmas, could still knock on the door of $2 a gallon."
On Aug. 11, the BP Whiting refinery suffered damage to the largest crude distillation unit at its 413,500 barrel-per-day location. Repairs are ongoing.