While the national average price for a gallon of gas has been steadily increasing over the last month, having risen from $3.42 to $3.51, the average price per gallon in Indiana has been fluctuating steadily, having last peaked at $3.69 on March 23 after its previous dip to $3.57 on March 21. The average price per gallon in the state is now around $3.65, and according to GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan, these jumps coincide with the time of year when gas prices are most volatile.
“Over the weekend, we did see prices jumping up to $3.75, but really, it’s actually lower than the last time prices hiked about two weeks ago, so prices in the last week and a half or so are actually started to dip from where they had been earlier. This is the time of year when gas prices tend to be volatile and jumpy – that comes as refineries do maintenance and switch over to summer gasoline, which is more expensive to produce,” DeHaan explained.
British Petroleum recently announced a spill at their Whiting refinery that leaked an undisclosed amount of oil into Lake Michigan. Fortunately, DeHaan said the spill appears to be relatively small and it shouldn’t have much of an impact on gas prices.
“While BP hasn’t provided numbers to my knowledge, it appears that the spill is fairly miniscule. BP’s Whiting refinery has the capacity to refine 410,000 barrels of oil per day. The spill is likely significantly under 100 barrels, in fact, we might just be talking about a few barrels that spilled. So, overall, when you’re talking about just a handful of barrels, it’s not going to make much of an impact. In fact, it won’t make an impact on gasoline prices,” DeHaan said.
He said prices may go up in the near future, but it won’t be caused by the spill. Prices are expected to continue to fluctuate over the next month, but toward the end of April, refineries should be wrapping up their maintenance and prices could decrease. DeHaan said Memorial Day may mark the beginning of lower prices.