With gas prices up roughly six cents over last week in Indiana, GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Gregg Laskoski attributes the rise in prices to problems in California and overseas. He said there is a lot of problems around the country, but the biggest problems at the moment exist in California.
The state is seeing some significant supply problems because of two refineries that have been out of commission: one refinery lost power, and one suffered from a fire. That, on top of a pipeline problem, has pushed the state of California to record-high prices of $4.59 per gallon. Laskoski explained that Los Angeles has been hit even worse, with prices as high as $4.70 per gallon.
Fortunately, Laskoski said, things should start moderating downward in the rest of the country. As winter-blend gasoline hits the markets, Laskoski said consumers can expect to see some savings at the pump.
Currently, Indiana is about even with the national average price of $3.80, though some areas like Knox are $3.89 or higher.
Laskoski explained that it’s important to keep an eye on global affairs, specifically events in the Middle East. He said the price of crude oil as of right now is encouraging, because a number of areas that were previously volatile caused nervousness in the market, which spiked crude oil prices at $99 a barrel. Since then the price has dropped to $89.63 per barrel, but he emphasized that any time there is friction in the Middle East, it can drive the prices up.
Also affecting gas prices are U.S. economic policies which can affect the value of the U.S. Dollar. Laskoski said anything that affects the value of the dollar would have an impact on prices, and when the dollar value weakens, he said that’s a sign that investors will start pumping money into commodities like crude oil.