MINNEAPOLIS — Gas prices in Minnesota are predicted to increase by 50 cents to $1 over the coming days.
According to fuel savings platform GasBuddy, prices are expected to rise in much of the Corn Belt and a refinery outage may be to blame.
“The details on the outage generally lag the response we see in wholesale gasoline prices, due to the nature of these situations,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “A refinery that goes down has contractual obligations to supply certain volumes of gasoline to stations. If an unexpected outage happens, the refinery that goes down suddenly may not have enough supply to meet its obligations and has to find another refinery to buy from. This can push prices up considerably, as a refinery could be a very large buyer.”
As of Friday morning, De Haan says average gas prices in Minnesota have increased by 11 cents, compared to last week.
“Adding in that we’re just a week away from the switch to cheaper winter gasoline, we have a very large, but temporary squeeze in the market,” De Haan said.
Twin Cities residents woke up to the surprise.
“Originally I was going to put 20 in, then I saw [the price], I’m like yeah, I’m only going to put ten in now,” said Ahmad Montgomery, of Richfield. “I’ve still got to buy groceries, I’m running errands right now. That extra 50 cents, that adds up after each gallon.”
The hope is prices will drop when the switch to winter fuel is complete and maintenance at refineries is over. But that could take a week or so.
“It’s always frustrating, when you have no control over something like that,” said Pete Werner, from Richfield. “It’s the powers that be that dictate the prices. As a consumer, you just kind of have to take it.”
According to AAA, as of Friday, Minnesota’s average gas price is $3.774, compared to the national average of $3.808.
De Haan said the dramatic spikes are rare, but not unheard of. In 2015, the BP Refinery in Indiana went down, causing gas price spikes in Michigan and Indiana of as much as a dollar a gallon.