In Your Corner: Inside The Gas Hikes

By Scott Sarvay
By Ryan Elijah

June 2, 2011 Updated Jun 3, 2011 at 11:12 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Just when gas prices were trickling down they shot back up and in the Hoosier state reaching $4.15 a gallon.

The national average of $3.79 remains far below what we’re paying locally.

Ryan Elijah digs into the reasons behind the hike and shows us why Fort Wayne is now one of the most expensive places in the country to buy gas.

Chances are you've never heard of the company Transcanada or its Keystone Pipeline, but starting yesterday, its leak is impacting prices in the Midwest. On Sunday, a leaky valve forced Transcanada to shut down the line that produces nearly 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day, but it gets worse, fellow Canadian company Enbridge had a power outage due to severe weather as did Marathon's facility in Illinois. Also playing a role was Exxon Mobil's troubled refinery in Joliet, Illinois. The same facility that was blamed for a pre-Memorial Day hike is also contributing to a perfect storm of problems that's allowed traders to push prices higher on supply concerns.

"Without the pipelines operating, there simply is not enough crude oil for refiners to refine into gasoline. We're just getting inundated with problems at the pipeline and refinery level", said Patrick DeHaan an analyst with GasBuddy.com

Thursday morning Transcanada said it could be next week before the pipeline is back online, DeHaan calls the problems temporary and feels prices will go back below $4 in mid-to-late June as the problems clear up. Clearly the Midwest is "over a barrel right now." Indiana is now the 4th highest state for gasoline, higher than New York, California and even Hawaii.

Dramatic moves like the near 10 percent jump we saw this week are clearly weighing heavily on the patience of consumers, one analyst we spoke with said not only do consumers have little recourse, but even politicians have little control over prices right now.

"Unfortunately, there's very little politicians can do, now may be a good time to think about refinery oversight at some level."

DeHaan feels that refinery oversight would have lessened the current strain on the great lakes area by having more gasoline produced.

Locally, Indiana's Attorney General's office has conducted gouging investigations, but found the hikes were "market driven". On the federal level, the FTC and the Dept. Of Energy also track prices in 360 cities.

While the price of crude oil is still the biggest driver of higher gas prices, the Fort Wayne area is feeling the expensive reality of how supply concerns, real or perceived, can move prices in a hurry. Critics feel without changes in oversight or drilling, we'll continue to pay a premium when an accident happens thousands of miles away.

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