News Column

Midwest Leads US in Gas Prices in January

Feb. 1, 2013

Samantha Bomkamp

Gas prices

Drivers in the Midwest saw the biggest spikes in gas prices last month, AAA says, and it's likely to get worse in February.

The rising price of crude oil and lower gasoline supplies combined to drive prices higher in the region, the motor club reported, citing data from Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. The average price of unleaded in the Chicago area is $3.73, up more than 20 cents from a week ago and 30 cents higher than late December.

Illinois has one of the biggest monthly increases in January gas prices, topped only by Minnesota, Indiana and Michigan.

It's a strange time of year to see rising prices at the pump. Demand usually fades in the winter and picks up again in summer driving season.

The national average for regular gasoline last month was $3.32, the second highest for any January. Still, it was below 2012, when prices reach a record.

AAA expects U.S. average gas prices to continue to rise this month due to changes at the nation's refineries. Many close for at this time of year for maintenance and to start the laborious switch-over to different blends of gasoline required for summer.

Still, AAA thinks prices will climb at a slower pace this February than they din in the last two years.



Source: (c)2013 the Chicago Tribune Distributed by MCT Information Services