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Published May 17, 2013, 11:30 PM

Gas prices on pace to reach all-time high

Attributed in part to recent accidents at oil refineries
FARGO – Gas prices here are on pace to reach an all-time high this weekend after shooting up 40 cents in less than a week, and in some places jumping by 30 cents in a matter of hours.

By: Wendy Reuer, INFORUM

FARGO – Gas prices here are on pace to reach an all-time high this weekend after shooting up 40 cents in less than a week, and in some places jumping by 30 cents in a matter of hours.

The average price in Fargo was $3.97 on Friday morning. The average price across North Dakota was $3.98, said Gene LaDoucer, spokesman for AAA North Dakota.

By Friday evening, the average price had climbed to $4.06 per gallon according to GasBuddy.com. Most gas stations held steady at $3.99 per gallon, while others in north Fargo and those closest to major freeways were at $4.19 or $4.29 per gallon for regular gasoline.

LaDoucer said Friday he expected Fargo’s prices to continue climbing in the next few days, likely surpassing the all-time record high average of $3.98 set on July 9, 2008. The record statewide average in North Dakota is $4.08.

The pain at the pump is even more prominent in Minnesota, with an average statewide record price of $4.14 per gallon, the second-highest average in the nation, according AAA Minnesota. In the Twin Cities, the average was $4.22.

“Minnesota seems to be taking the brunt of it at the moment, but other states such as North Dakota are sharing in the pain,” LaDoucer said.

The averages in both states are more than 30 cents higher than at this time last year and far above the current national average of $3.62.

“That type of jump in prices is certainly going to get people’s attention,” LaDoucer said.

Western North Dakota cities are also taking a hit. Bismarck is already well above its all-time high of $4.07 set in June 2008 with prices at $4.19 per gallon as of Friday.

The high prices are attributed to recent accidents at oil refineries in the Midwest and the planned temporary closure of two large refineries in the Chicago area.

“This should just be a short-term episode, and once the refineries are successfully brought back on line and production starts back up, we should see a relatively rapid decline in prices more in line with what we would expect,” LaDoucer said.

While the Upper Midwest is pressured by prices, they’re falling in some states. South Carolina reported the lowest average of $3.22 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.

com.

“Between what we are paying in Upper Midwest and in the Southeast is 75 cents to $1 difference,” LaDoucer said.

While it is common to see prices rise due to anticipated demand around holidays, LaDoucer said, the upcoming Memorial Day holiday has little to do with these high prices.

“That really is not having an impact this year because it’s been overcome by refinery issues,” he said. “So, it’s really just a regional issue and once it’s remedied we should see prices come down again fairly quickly,” He said.

Earlier projections estimated the national average high in would be around $3.80 this summer.


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Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

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