Video: Gas prices hit $4.39 a gallon in the Twin Cities

posted at 2:31 pm on May 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

A couple of weeks ago, I was griping that I had to pay $3.50 a gallon or so after a longtime partnership between my grocery store and a local gas station was canceled. Yesterday, I had to fill up my tank again … and I practically had to fill out a loan application. The price at the pump in my neighborhood was $4.39 a gallon, as gas prices have suddenly skyrocketed in the Midwest:

Gas prices are above $4 a gallon at many stations across Minnesota, and experts believe the high prices could last at least a month.

AAA tells KSTP two large refineries in the Chicago area closed, which has decreased some of the supply in the Midwest.

The switch to summer grade fuel is also causing a spike in prices, and some experts say it could be linked to unrest in the Middle East, which impacts the price of crude oil.

According to AAA, the highest average price on record for the state is $3.98, which was in 2008.

We normally have relatively inexpensive gasoline in the Midwest, but this week we actually outstripped California. USA Today calls this “a rollercoaster year” for drivers, and notes that prices are breaking records in this part of the country. Refinery capacity is once again the issue:

Troubles at several oil refineries are driving gasoline prices sharply higher in the Midwest, and the regional shortages are expected to boost pump prices nationwide.

Gas prices in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin have spiked up to 40 cents a gallon the past week alone. Behind the rise: outages and extended maintenance has curbed output at refineries in Joliet, Ill., Whiting, Ind; Tulsa, Okla, and Eldorado, Kansas.

While the USA may be dripping in new found crude oil deposits and early May supplies were at their highest levels since the early 1930s, issues at a handful of refineries that turn crude into gasoline and diesel fuel underscore how kinks in the supply chain can cause quick surges in what consumers pay at the pump.

In Minnesota, regular, unleaded gas averaged $4.15 a gallon heading into the weekend — an all-time state record. That makes Minnesota the priciest state in the continental U.S., overtaking California, averaging $4.06 a gallon. In oil-rich North Dakota, prices average $3.98, also a record-high.

We’ve repeatedly noted the issue of refinery capacity and its lack of expansion over the last 30 years. A major new refinery will be built in North Dakota to handle the huge deposits of crude being extracted, but until it opens, shortages in refined product will continue to occur — and price spikes, too.

And that’s bad news for the national economy, too, since these shortages will likely drive prices up nationwide:

The price surge in the Midwest could have a broader economic impact. Thursday, the Labor Department said April’s drop in gas prices helped push consumer inflation down 0.4% Earlier this week, the Commerce Dept. cited lower priced gas for spurring a slight gain in April consumer spending.

Rising gas prices will likely reverse both trends, however.

Don’t forget that gas prices have a multiplier effect, too. Any products that come to market via truck — such as produce, especially — will start costing more in the grocery stores. That will drain even more disposable income from households and leave a lot less money for luxuries.

It’s going to be a long, expensive summer — and don’t be surprised if Midwesterners opt for more “stay-cations” during it.

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Just as planned but the only surprise is how long it took.

CW on May 18, 2013 at 2:33 PM

“Winning!”–Steven Chu.

vityas on May 18, 2013 at 2:35 PM

I can ride my unicorn to work.

VibrioCocci on May 18, 2013 at 2:35 PM

The EPA-targetting the anti-gov businesses and promoting the greenies will increase the price substantially. It’s the under-reported Obama/USSA scandal.

Schadenfreude on May 18, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Hey, libs! Gas in San Antonio is $3.27/gallon!

/still should be lower, given the massive supply out there

john1schn on May 18, 2013 at 2:37 PM

California prices, try a California solution: high speed rail between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Cost probably less than a billion.

de rigueur on May 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

I am actually surprised that North Dakota is building a refinery. Didn’t we have a story about the Hess refinery in N.J. closing and that the refinery part of the oil business is so expensive? I can’t imagine the legal and regulatory hoops these folks have to jump through. The Libs are determined to get us, one way or another.

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Shhhh, If you complain, The IRS will take away your high blood pressure medication.

birdwatcher on May 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

de rigueur on May 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

How does that help Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin?

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

That’s almost $1.00 more per gallon than the ave. price down here in Texas Ed.

As of 5/18

Texas

3.419

http://www.texasgasprices.com/Prices_Nationally.aspx

Ya’ll are right up there in the Hawaiian stratosphere…without the beaches or the weather.

workingclass artist on May 18, 2013 at 2:43 PM

de rigueur on May 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

How does that help Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin?

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

High-speed rail for everyone!

joekenha on May 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

It’s all part of the plan. Liberals think gas should be $10 a gallon.

Albert Arthur on May 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

If you think gas prices are bad now, just wait until Memorial Day weekend…

locomotivebreath1901 on May 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM

So it’s not at $ 9 .00 per gallon yet ?
Hussein has work to do !!

burrata on May 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM

de rigueur on May 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

How does that help Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin?

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Not sure. Just as no one really knows how the Madera to Bakersfield hsr line helps California. But the Central Valley looks a lot like the Midwest.

de rigueur on May 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM

I am actually surprised that North Dakota is building a refinery. Didn’t we have a story about the Hess refinery in N.J. closing and that the refinery part of the oil business is so expensive? I can’t imagine the legal and regulatory hoops these folks have to jump through. The Libs are determined to get us, one way or another.

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Read about that months ago.

They have to build it…Regionally they’re producing it so fast it’s causing backup at the refineries all over.

Even Texas City is under strain…and they refine internationally.

workingclass artist on May 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Silly Ed, get you a Smart car!

bazil9 on May 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Progtards, champions of the middle class, love European level petrol prices and work feverishly to make that the new normal here in the USA.

Thanks progtards!

tom daschle concerned on May 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

no worries Ed, Keystone has bi-partisan support and Nebraska has OK’d the re-route…Pres. has agreed he will….oh wait.

hillsoftx on May 18, 2013 at 2:52 PM

de rigueur on May 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM

They tried that in Florida. Twice. First North to South and when that didn’t fly, East to West. And when the citizens said NO, they are still trying to work around us. High speed rail is apparently magic and the answer to every ill in the world.

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Yep. Supply and demand. The shortages in the Great Lakes areas have effected Missouri as well. Ripple effect. As we are told they are rerouting fuel up there. That coupled with the refineries shutting down for maintenance in Kansas and Tulsa, OK., plus the reformulation changes.
I paid $3.18 a gallon two weeks ago at Sam’s Club and now they are $3.81 and rising. The libs down here are crying oil company collusion. But what we need are more refineries, the last large refinery was built in Louisiana back in 1977. They’ve only built a few smaller ones since then. They also need to cut out the ethanol garbage, and cut the gas taxes.

RAN58 on May 18, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Silly Ed, get you a Smart car scooter !

bazil9 on May 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

hehehe

burrata on May 18, 2013 at 2:53 PM

High-speed rail for everyone!

joekenha on May 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Whether you want it or can use it.

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 2:54 PM

I remember the good ol days..(80′s)
hopping in my grandparents RV and summer road trips.
No more.
Awesome economic booster.
Especially, for our state that relies on tourism.
Hell, people can’t even pay to drive to work.

bazil9 on May 18, 2013 at 2:55 PM

burrata on May 18, 2013 at 2:53 PM

hee heee

bazil9 on May 18, 2013 at 2:55 PM

I question how this is going to impact the Free Bradley Manning get together.

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Don’t worry Ed. The price of wind will be lower soon. The government will provide the “mini-turbine”. You just have to bend over to shove the other end up the tailpipe.

djaymick on May 18, 2013 at 3:01 PM

“I can ride my unicorn to work”

LMAO!

Eph on May 18, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Do what I do, TAKE THE BUS, see I don’t use oil….

///

Sing seen at an OWS Rally.

JFKY on May 18, 2013 at 3:10 PM

It’s over $4 in some parts of Colorado.

jawkneemusic on May 18, 2013 at 3:10 PM

“We normally have relatively inexpensive gasoline in the Midwest, but this week we actually outstripped California.”

..$4.08 in Placentia, $3.97 at my usual fill-up spot, and $4.20 in your former residence, Cerritos, Ed.

The War Planner on May 18, 2013 at 3:10 PM

High speed rail is apparently magic and the answer to every ill in the world.

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 2:52 PM

It will completely displace the unicorn-and-buggy.

de rigueur on May 18, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Bush!
Cheney!
Halliburton!
Koch brothers!

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on May 18, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Don’t worry Ed. The price of wind will be lower soon. The government will provide the “mini-turbine”. You just have to bend over to shove the other end up the tailpipe.

djaymick on May 18, 2013 at 3:01 PM

and until some Obama bundler fifures out a way to manufacture those mini-turbines , get yourself 2 of these , hold them in each hand and ……runnnnn :O
You can power your iphone as well as support gay marriage !!

at the same time

burrata on May 18, 2013 at 3:19 PM

3.17 in Montgomery, Alabama. Roll Tide!!

cww on May 18, 2013 at 3:27 PM

I’m sure a lot of people won’t be going to their cabins every weekend either.

Only in MN

gophergirl on May 18, 2013 at 3:27 PM

A major new refinery will be built in North Dakota

Cool. How long will that take, 15 years due to environmental regulations?

xblade on May 18, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Jeepers, Ed, that’s really rough. Last I looked, it was about $3.45 here in western PA.

With warmer weather, trade the car for a bike and enjoy the 50 mpg… not to mention the scenery.

petefrt on May 18, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Don’t forget that gas prices have a multiplier effect, too. Any products that come to market via truck — such as produce, especially — will start costing more in the grocery stores. That will drain even more disposable income from households

See, that’s why the price of gas and food is not a factor in CPI…to keep people like us from freaking out !!!

burrata on May 18, 2013 at 3:39 PM

$4/gallon here in NW Indiana and pretty much has been hovering there for several weeks.

novaculus on May 18, 2013 at 3:44 PM

I left CA to drive to TX on 4/27, and ARCO (our price leader) was selling 87-octane for $3.659; I came back two weeks later and was greeted with $3.899 at the same ARCO station – it’s even higher now.
In Seguin TX, I paid $3.299!

Another Drew on May 18, 2013 at 3:48 PM

1,2,3,

all together now- It’s BUSH’S fault.

had to say it.

gerrym51 on May 18, 2013 at 3:52 PM

All by design, plan, intent, and action…

… Just like in California.

It’s ‘Paradise‘, isn’t it…?

Seven Percent Solution on May 18, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Wait a tic…

… We should try printing money out of thin air to prop up the Stock Market with Billions each month to hide the ‘New Normal’ of Obowma’s failed (or intended) economic policies.

THAT should give more value to our dollars…!

… Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on May 18, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Shhhh, If you complain, The IRS will take away your high blood pressure medication.

birdwatcher on May 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

^ —-Good one.

SparkPlug on May 18, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Has John effing Kerry recommended that Mr. Ogabe go jawbone the Saudis yet?

tom daschle concerned on May 18, 2013 at 4:07 PM

This explains the just now mysterious White House approval of natural gas/texas ?

Don L on May 18, 2013 at 4:11 PM

“Fuel prices will necessarily skyrocket.”

$4.35 in suburban Chicago. Obama is a leftist moron.

Jaibones on May 18, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Ed, Ed , Ed …

The price surge in the Midwest could have a broader economic impact. Thursday, the Labor Department said April’s drop in gas prices helped push consumer inflation down 0.4%

.
You are quoting the Labor Department, the Official Liars of the SCOAMF Administration, but have you forgotten that the cost of food and gasoline is NOT included in the government’s inflation calaculations?

PolAgnostic on May 18, 2013 at 4:17 PM

“Fuel prices will necessarily skyrocket.”

$4.35 in suburban Chicago. Obama is a leftist moron.

Jaibones on May 18, 2013 at 4:13 PM

No, the morons are the people who voted him in. Twice.

squint on May 18, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Ed (and everyone else too),

Check out an app called “Gas Buddy” for your smartphone.

Not to rub it in, but here in central VA, we’re paying over a dollar less than you (3.35).

I just checked that app, and over in Hixton, WI regular gas is 3.79.

BobMbx on May 18, 2013 at 4:18 PM

If I could have captured the natural gas an old man was letting out in the store yesterday I might have gotten a few miles per braaaaaaaaap.

docflash on May 18, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Shhhh, If you complain, The IRS will take away your high blood pressure medication.

birdwatcher on May 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Or change it by “mistake” to rat poison.

BobMbx on May 18, 2013 at 4:19 PM

And as of 1 hour ago, Ed, the SuperAmerica at 1301 Oak Ave in Waconia is selling regular for 3.85.

Fill’er up

BobMbx on May 18, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Wait a tic…

… We should try printing money out of thin air to prop up the Stock Market with Billions each month to hide the ‘New Normal’ of Obowma’s failed (or intended) economic policies.

THAT should give more value to our dollars…!

… Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on May 18, 2013 at 3:57 PM

.
A trillion here …

A trillion there …

It all means nothing …

To the party of Obamacare.

Burma Shave

Lest we forget, the same government is subsidizing the Too Big Too Jail banks to the tune of $ 85 billion a year.

Which is literally, all of their profits and BONUSES, courtesy of the taxpayers.

PolAgnostic on May 18, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this is just another attempt by President Passerby to further punish the American people for not kissing his ass as much as the media does. All the Sequestration crap he pulled, like closing down White House tours and grounding the Blue Angels didn’t get the expected contrition from us, so know he’s going to hit us where it really hurts.

CurtZHP on May 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Meanwhile demand for oil is down. So what could it be?
Surely all that printing doesn’t affect the value of a dollar?

Kenosha Kid on May 18, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Or change it by “mistake” to rat poison.

BobMbx on May 18, 2013 at 4:19 PM

It won’t be a mistake. The fascists in our government deliberately targeted groups they don’t like. Does anyone really think that HHS will act differently?

They will carefully rid themselves of those who don’t support what they are doing.

dogsoldier on May 18, 2013 at 4:51 PM

The refining process for Natural Gas is MUCH cheaper than for crude oil.

Your car will run just fine on Liquified Natural Gas.

All that needs to be changed are the rules at EPA and carburetors which are available, that allow your car to run on gasoline, ethanol, Propane or LNG. (They sense the different fuel and talk to you cars computer.)

So instead of plugging your electric car into an outlet at home, you would plug it into the gas line at your home to refuel. Take about 10 minutes.

AND NO MORE FUEL TAXES, which is why it will never happen on a broad scale.

A low volume NG to LNG compressor with tank would produce from 10 to 50 liquid gallons of LNG per day. Depending on how many cars you have. You could also fill up at a station if you lived in an apartment or were taking a longer trip. But since your vehicle can still run on regular gasoline, you can also go to a traditional station.

barnone on May 18, 2013 at 4:52 PM

I meant to add the price of gas is ridiculous and completely unnecessary.

dogsoldier on May 18, 2013 at 4:53 PM

How’s that E15 gas working for you?

Steve Eggleston on May 18, 2013 at 4:56 PM

According to Tulsa TV, both Tulsa refineries for scheduled turnaround. Owners evidently are putting much more into them. However, as in central station turnarounds, the owners try to schedule at the time of lowest need or usage. Depending on the weather, sometimes they guess not-so-good.

Blame it on Bush!

Old Country Boy on May 18, 2013 at 4:58 PM

I bet these “troubles” at all these refineries were caused by the EPA. It really bugs me that the media won’t even report on it–like it’s blaspheming against Gaia.

PattyJ on May 18, 2013 at 5:03 PM

California prices, try a California solution: high speed rail between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Cost probably less than a billion.

de rigueur on May 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Or, you could get a couple of big slingshots and nets…

trigon on May 18, 2013 at 5:09 PM

California prices, try a California solution: high speed rail between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Cost probably less than a billion.

de rigueur on May 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

They are currently ripping up University Ave for light rail between downtown Mpls and St Paul. Businesses are closing along the route due to the construction.

jpmn on May 18, 2013 at 5:09 PM

They tried that in Florida. Twice. First North to South and when that didn’t fly, East to West. And when the citizens said NO, they are still trying to work around us. High speed rail is apparently magic and the answer to every ill in the world.

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 2:52 PM

These Florida high speed railroad schemes have been kicked around since at least the ’80s.

The Florida GOP simply doesn’t want Obama’s money for this particular boondoggle. And it’s not that I don’t think it makes sense to connect Orlando to the Atlantic and Gulf beaches, because it does, but obviously these schemes have been consistently mishandled over the decades.

Always a big question is, “who’s going to pay for it all?”. There is no state income tax, so they’d have to increase sales taxes, tourism-hotel taxes, and I suppose individual counties and cities along the route would increase their sales taxes, business taxes and property taxes as well.

Remember that not everyone in Florida lives in Orlando, nor do most Florida citizens depend directly (or I can maintain even indirectly) on tourist dollars that I suspect largely end up in someone’s pockets somewhere else.

Also, many of us were living quite well in Florida before Disney World was even open.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM

I live in North Florida. Do you really think the tourist industry is big enough to pay for rail from Orlando to Tampa? Will there be enough satellite transportation at either end to get the “masses” where they are going? Somehow I don’t equate this short distance scheduled moves the same as airline schedules where I’m saving a lot of miles and time.

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Stop griping, Ed. Bernanke will insure you will pay much more. Obamacare is on the way, after all.

rickv404 on May 18, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Hey guys, I know it will be a shock to you, but most of the price is not a conspiracy. Refinerys require scheduled turnarounds or you get lots of “roman candles” , bad smells, and yes, that is when they upgrade EPA compliance. For the first time in history, Tulsa is getting hit more than the rest of you, because this is a two-fer. This has nothing to do with the pipeline from Canada.

There may be some other transportation problems, though. BN is stacking southbound tanker trains from Tulsa out to Claremore on the old Frisco line. Don’t know what is in the tanks though.

Old Country Boy on May 18, 2013 at 5:44 PM

These Florida high speed railroad schemes have been kicked around since at least the ’80s…

Always a big question is, “who’s going to pay for it all?”. There is no state income tax, so they’d have to increase sales taxes, tourism-hotel taxes…

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Precisely the conundrum faced by California right now. CA-HSR officials are hoping to start construction on that vital billion-something dollar 30-mile Medera to Fresno link in another month (I say “vital” because until they build this, no one knows exactly where Medera is). They’re counting on $3.3 billion in federal funds, but those have to be matched by California money, which is being raised by a $10 billion bond issue authorized by Prop !A in 2008.

To date, CA has sold about $700 million in bonds. And now they have to stop, pending hearings by a Sacramento County Superior Court judge on a suit filed in 2011 by Kings County to stop bond sales, claiming that current HSR plans don’t match anything that was authorized by Prop 1A, including a requirement that the state have all the money in place and all have all the necessary environmental approvals (which Gov. Moonbeam is attempting to have waived) before first phase of construction begins.

State tried an end-run round the suit by filing a highly unorthodox “validation action,” encouraging everyone with a claim against the HSR to sue the state, which suits would be lumped together with the Kings County suit… taking a looong time during which CA could sell more bonds and start construction.

Gambit failed and hearing starts at the end of the month on whether California can continue to sell bonds to match the federal money to build the railroad, brother can you spare a dime?

Florida has been wise to avoid this scenario. Besides, if a north-south or east-west HSR is such a great idea, wouldn’t private enterprise jump on it?

Back On Topic: Gas prices in Southern California actually dropped below $4 today.

de rigueur on May 18, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Video: Gas prices hit $4.39 a gallon in the Twin Cities

Obama is still only about half way to his goal!

RJL on May 18, 2013 at 7:11 PM

All by design, plan, intent, and action…

… Just like in California.

It’s ‘Paradise‘, isn’t it…?

Seven Percent Solution on May 18, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Indeed. Higher energy prices being a goal of the administration was indirectly telegraphed by the “One” in 2008.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on May 18, 2013 at 7:36 PM

$4.05 here in Nebraska this morning…

serenity on May 18, 2013 at 7:36 PM

If someone could just figure out a way to inject it into Pelosi’s face, and make her look life-like, we might have a chance to bring the price down.

In fact, I’d bet she’d pay for the Keystone pipeline herself!

ccrosby on May 18, 2013 at 7:59 PM

Around $3.30 in Lubbock…

annoyinglittletwerp on May 18, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Welcome to my world. Premium gas at the local Santa Monica station is $4.79.

I might be remembering this wrong, but when I learned to drive gas was $.33, and there was something called a “gas war”.

danielreyes on May 18, 2013 at 9:32 PM

There’s another reason. Spring planting is late in much of the midwest due to cold weather. The farmers are right now in a massive race to get fields planted. They are using fuel like gangbusters. If they don’t get fields planted by this weekend, they may not get a crop in time to beat the winter frost. Yields drop off significantly every day after May 15 the crops are planted.

crosspatch on May 18, 2013 at 11:46 PM

Florida has been wise to avoid this scenario. Besides, if a north-south or east-west HSR is such a great idea, wouldn’t private enterprise jump on it?

Back On Topic: Gas prices in Southern California actually dropped below $4 today.

de rigueur on May 18, 2013 at 6:20 PM

1. If they thought they could get the taxpayers to pay for most or all of it.

2. If they could charge what they felt they needed to be profitable, and if that was too much and revenues fall, see #1 above to bail them out…”too big to fail” as it were.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 19, 2013 at 12:47 AM

It’s been 30-40c cheaper at Costco/Sam’s than the local price fixing cartel of ScamAmerica/Scamiday/Scamoco.

The member ship pays for itself very quickly.

MNHawk on May 19, 2013 at 9:06 AM

$3.25 a gal yesterday in Bristol TN no income tax either.

deimos on May 19, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Could this be happening to get the people’s minds off of the corrupt administration and on to other things. It seems the hotter this scandals are getting the higher the gas prices are going.

savage24 on May 19, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Write your highly effective clown senator that your state elected. I”m sure he get “right on it”. He’ll ask the kenyan what he should do.

acyl72 on May 20, 2013 at 7:20 AM