ENERGY - Closed refinery causes price hikesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News : One Thread
Janesville, IL, Gazette
Prices seen climbing more as refinery stays closed
(Published Friday, August 24, 2001 9:18:14 AM CDT; updated Friday, August 24, 2001 11:34:15 AM CDT)
Associated Press and Gazette Staff
Gasoline prices in Janesville jumped up again this week, mirroring a statewide trend in which the average price has reached $1.63 a gallon.
Prices could escalate further while a refinery in northern Illinois remains closed for five to six months, observers say.
Fire damaged the Citgo Petroleum refinery in Romeoville, Ill., on Aug. 14. The company initially thought it would have to close the refinery for six weeks, but it said Thursday it would take longer to repair the damage.
"We are concerned about the short-term gasoline and diesel (fuel) supply in the Midwest," W.A. Devore, a Citgo senior vice president for supply, said in a statement.
The refinery is a major supplier of cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline to the Milwaukee market and of conventional gas to the Madison and Green Bay areas.
"It went up 10 cents just the other day, Tuesday," said Rose Lenz, bookkeeper for Janesville Travel Center, 3222 Highway 14, Janesville.
Mobil regular gas cost $1.68 a gallon at the travel center this morning, while diesel cost $1.60, reflecting a 6-cent increase, which also came Tuesday, Lenz said.
"It's jumping a lot, eight pennies, 10 pennies already this week," said a clerk at Mickey Mart, 1445 Center Ave., Janesville.
There, the price today was $1.63 per gallon of regular, the clerk said.
Regular cost $1.68 a gallon today at Rollette Oil, 1831 E. Milwaukee St. That's 8 cents more than earlier in the week, clerk Josh Simonson said, and diesel spiked up 12 cents this morning to $1.65 a gallon.
Asked if he thought the refinery fire boosted prices, Simonson replied: "Either that or the Republicans being in office."
A gallon of gas cost an average $1.63 statewide Thursday, compared with $1.40 a month ago, according to AAA.
Wisconsin's average was higher than every state except Alaska and Hawaii, according to figures from the motorists' group. The national average was $1.44 Thursday.
"We're coming into the Labor Day weekend, where demand historically is high," said Erin Roth, executive director of the Wisconsin Petroleum Council. "We're not in a panic situation, but we are in a tight market."
Pump prices might go up another 5 to 10 cents a gallon in the short term because of the refinery shutdown and declining gas supplies nationwide, said George Gaspar, oil industry analyst for Robert W. Baird & Co.
The supply issue "also suggests that rising prices could be with us into the fall," he said.
Other companies had planned to close their Midwest refineries after Labor Day for routine maintenance.
-- Anonymous, August 27, 2001