Deep freeze in South fuels gas price hike in GR area

Grand Rapids
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The impact of plunging temperatures in Texas is driving up gas prices in the Grand Rapids area.

According to a Tuesday report by GasBuddy.com, the extreme cold has frozen nearly 20% of oil refinery production, fueling a jump at our pumps. Demand for gasoline is also recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to higher oil prices.

GasBuddy petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan says between both conditions, drivers “probably won’t see much, if any relief, anytime soon.”

Grand Rapids-area gas prices started increasing Tuesday afternoon from an average of $2.43 per gallon of regular gas to $2.65 per gallon, according to DeHaan. That’s in line with GasBuddy’s national prediction of a 10- to 20-cent price jump over the next two weeks.

DeHaan told News 8 there is a chance of another price hike in the next four to 11 days, with regular gas potentially hitting $2.75 to $2.79 per gallon. Nationally, Gasbuddy.com says prices could average $2.65 to $2.75 per gallon, the highest seasonal prices in more than five years.

As of Tuesday, 11 refineries in Texas and one in Kansas had at least partially shut down because of the extreme cold, according to GasBuddy. Few refineries in the South are equipped to handle the historic cold now gripping the region.

Power outages have added to the challenges in Texas, reportedly forcing some gas stations to close.

If global oil production remains the same, GasBuddy says prices could near $3 per gallon around Memorial Day weekend as refineries begin switching over to their cleaner summer fuel mix.

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