GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Drivers in West Michigan are seeing gas price jump 40 cents per gallon at some stations this week.
Two Midwest refineries that remain offline have added to that increase by limiting supply.
Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy, says the plant in Ohio is expected to be closed into 2023 after a worker died but the Indiana plant should be operational soon.
The Indiana plant has been conducting planned maintenance following a fire.
“The good news is the largest refinery in the Midwest, the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, maintenance there should wrap up in the next two to three weeks and they’re hoping to get back fully online and that will help 10 million gallons of gasoline … make it back into the market,” De Haan said.
Usually, prices would be decreasing this time of year.
“Typically gas prices go down in the fall. They remain relatively low into the winter until about February. That’s when we start to see prices going up and of course that is always subject to ongoing issues and refinery issues that can develop at a moment’s notice,” De Haan said.
Overall refinery capacity in the U.S. has decreased in recent years, making disruptions more difficult to recover from.
“The U.S. is now down about a million barrels a day refining capacity,” De Haan said. “To put that into scope, the refinery in northwest Indiana is about 420,000 barrels a day of capacity, so it’s the equivalent of losing two of those major refineries in the last three years. That is why we are so subject now to the refinery issues.”
Many station in Grand Rapids had regular gas available for $4.49 per gallon. De Haan said diesel prices are also going up 18 to 25 cents across the country.
Brenda Wurm and her husband Steve Wurm were traveling through the Grand Rapids area heading from Traverse City.
“I look at it and say, ‘Well at least you have to dive into the savings a little more,’” Steve Wurm said.
The couple tries to find saving at the pump where they can but say they have no choice but to keep filling up.
“We recently purchased a home down in Illinois so we’re traveling back in fourth. We have to do that so and the prices down there are always higher than what they are in Michigan,” Brenda Wurm said.