Midwest Gas Prices Spike Overnight

Memorial Day came and went, and with it went lower gas prices for many in the Midwest. Overnight, gas stations around Chicago and Indianapolis raised prices significantly. In Elgin, Ill., a Chicago suburb, prices rose 40 cents in 24 hours, reported WGN radio (720-AM).

According to AAA’s FuelGaugeReport website, prices in Chicago were up an average of just six cents. In Champaign-Urbana, Ill., AAA reported an average price increase of 27 cents, while the national average moved up just a penny and states like California saw modest drops.

The price increase is being attributed to a nitrogen dioxide leak at an Exxon Mobil gasoline refinery in Joliet, Ill., that forced the plant to restart last Saturday. The incident’s impact is isolated to the surrounding areas that require a special blend of gasoline for lower emissions like Chicago.

However, Indiana’s average gas prices shot up an average of nine cents overnight. Bloomington, Ind., saw prices up 17 cents; Gary — near Chicago — had prices up 11 cents, and Indianapolis’ gas prices increased 14 cents.

Ohio’s average gas price jumped 10 cents, with Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo seeing spikes of up to 14 cents.

We’d like to hear stories from our readers in the Midwest to see if they experienced gas-price sticker shock this morning on their way to work.

By David Thomas | June 2, 2011 | Comments (8)
Tags: In The News



Gas prices in Columbus shot up to $3.99/gallon yesterday, up about 20¢ in a day. A week or two ago it dropped to as low as $3.55/gallon but that lasted for all of 48 hours.


"require a special blend of gasoline for lower emissions like Chicago"--welcome to our CA world folks. Been there and doing that and paying a premium for years now. Makes me wish I lived close to a border to drive over and spend $.20/gal less.


I live in the western Chicago suburbs. About 10 days ago, our gas prices had fallen rapidly and were around $4, from a high of 4.45 or so prior to that.

They went back up a few cents around Memorial Day, dipped back down Monday, and yesterday (Wednesday) were suddenly up to 4.24 again. I hope the Joliet refinery gets back on track quickly because that's just ridiculous.


Gas went from 3.62 to 4.15 at several stations on the south side of Lafayette on Wednesday afternoon after slowly falling for the week before.


When I went to work Wednesday, petrol was $3.75 and less. When I went home 6 hours later it was up to $3.99. This was in the eastern subs of the Queen City.


The difficulty (as I have read) is that a different blend of gas is required for each region around Chicago based on its air quality. In CA (as my imposter has stated), the whole state simply requires the highest grade of gasoline, regardless of air quality in that particular region.

The reason this creates these spikes in Chicago is that you can't move gasoline supplies around from one region to another. This means that any disruption to supply or demand can not be spread across the entire state or further. Prices therefore spike in the region with reduced supply, and their neighbors quickly follow suit so as not to lose potential profit on those "driving 20 miles to save on gas". If Illinois were simply to mandate the grade of gas sold in CA for the entire state then the average price of gasoline would rise a little bit, but the spikes would go away.

Ultimately, predictability is more important than low cost for businesses and even for personal finance. It would benefit the economy to simply require the higher grade of gas.

Mark Sigel

I thought our President was investigating high gas prices. You mean to tell me that's not going to lower prices. I'm in shock! I feel like I've been misled. Imagine that.


In West Central Texas, the price went up yesterday 4 cents per gallon at some stations to $3.50/gallon. At Sam's Club it was $3.47/gal for regular.

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