Chicago Holds Top Spot for Highest Gasoline Prices Today

A recently sharp rise in the prices of fuel has pushed the current gasoline prices in Chicago at the most expensive level throughout the U.S.

The Fuel Gauge Report of AAA has placed Chicago in the top spot for cities having the highest gasoline prices today.

According to its price tracking website, the prices of regular unleaded gasoline in the Chicago metro-area are averaging at $4.26 per gallon. Meanwhile, based on AAA data, the state’s average is at a high of $4.36 a gallon, a level that is higher by 75 to 85 cents compared to the countrywide average.

Beth Mosher of AAA said that Illinois holds the top spot for states with the highest gasoline average in the state throughout the U.S. at $3.95 a gallon.

Mosher cited factors causing the price spikes. These include the shift from winter to summer gas blend, the latest rain storms that hit the Midwest and production problems at local refineries.

Annually, gasoline stations in Chicago are forced by EPA regulations to offer a specialty gasoline blend that burns cleaner and produces less pollution. The shift from summer- to winter-blend gasoline makes crude more costly for refineries to make.

The storms caused floods and power outages at refineries in both local and regional areas, according to Mosher. That led to a disruption in fuel production.

In addition, production problems at the Whiting Indiana facility and the Joliet refinery, owned by Exxon Mobil, as parts of the reason for the higher prices of gasoline. The two plants are undergoing expansions or widespread maintenance, which has restricted the usual output of their production.

Yet, there is still good news for motorists in Chicago. That is, the latest prices of gasoline are cheaper compared to their rate last March, when prices reached a record high of $4.68 per gallon.

Mosher believes that prices of gasoline in Chicago will not decline as much until the Fourth of July. Other analysts think that a downward movement may possibly happen in a week or two.

By: Chris Termeer