Refinery outage, Egyptian protests blamed for recent spike in gas prices

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Gas prices took a big jump in Central Indiana overnight Thursday, hitting an average of $3.74 a gallon. Prices have jumped more than 30-cents in just a week, leaving many with sticker shock.

“It’s not believable,” said Daniel Bethea, of Indianapolis. “You think it’s a dream.”

“I just think that it’s ridiculous,” said Brittany Holloway, of Indianapolis. “I mean, I’m still young and I remember when gas was $1.92 a gallon.”

Purdue economist Wally Tyner said there are several factors leading to the sudden jump. It’s peak travel season, meaning U.S. supplies are down. There’s also a small outage at the Whiting BP refinery in Northern Indiana, but Tyner said, the biggest factor is the political protests in Egypt, which have just sent crude oil prices soaring above $100 a barrel.

“We don’t get oil from Egypt, but Egypt is sort of a bell weather for what’s happening in the Middle East,” Tyner said. “And anytime you have that kind of disturbance going on the market get really jittery.”

Tyner expects the prices to remain high for at least a couple weeks, but he doesn’t think they’ll climb above $4 a gallon.

“I said they would range, generally, between $3.50 and $3.90,” Tyner said. “I think in general that still holds for this summer but they’re going to be in the high end of that range as long as the Egypt thing is boiling.”

As long as prices remain high, drivers will be boiling too.

“I put $30in in one day and that just gets to and from work for that day,” Holloway said. “I just think that’s ridiculous that we should be paying this.”

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