– At $4.08 per gallon, the cost of regular gasoline here is six
cents more than the statewide average of $4.02 per gallon, according
to figures released Friday by AAA-Wisconsin.
The uptick in prices is hitting consumers squarely in their
pocketbooks. Last month, the cost of a gallon of regular gas was
about $3.75 in Waukesha, according to AAA. Last year at this time,
regular gas cost $3.62 per gallon in the city, 46 cents less than
the current average.
In comparison, the national average is $3.63 per gallon, up from
$3.56 a year ago.
The cost of gasoline in Wisconsin is the sixth highest in the United
States. Only consumers in Hawaii, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and
Alaska pay more, according to AAA.
Buckle your seat belts. Relief from rising gas prices may not happen
for a couple of weeks.
“We have a number of refinery problems in the Midwest and
elsewhere,” Aaron Roth, executive director of the Wisconsin
Petroleum Council, said. “There’s not a shortage of crude oil.
The problem is with the production of gasoline.”
‘It’s just one thing after another’
Refineries in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Kansas and
Michigan are experiencing production reductions for a variety of
reasons, Roth said. And they all supply gasoline to the Milwaukee
area, he said.
“It’s just one thing after another,” Roth said. “We are
experiencing a 22-year low in gasoline production. We’re not
running out of gasoline, but some suppliers are setting their prices
higher to get people to drive their cars less.”
Troubled Midwest refineries are seeking gasoline via pipelines from
Gulf Coast refineries. That supply would be distributed to
Milwaukee- area retailers, but the turnaround could take 10 days to
two weeks, he said.
Refineries that are off line for upgrades should be back at full
production before the Fourth of July, he said.
■ A St. Paul, Minn., refinery that produces 300,000 barrels a
day is down for pollution control upgrades.
■ An Indiana refinery is upgrading to accept Canadian oil.
■ An Illinois refinery just completed an upgrade but found a
■ A Detroit refinery was heavily damaged by a fire last week.
■ Improvements at other refineries in Kansas, Michigan and
Wisconsin will not be done until mid- to late summer.
“Try to conserve fuel and don’t make unnecessary trips,” Roth
advised. “This has just got to work itself out.”