Gas prices may have come as a shock to you if you filled up in the Midwest today. Here in the Twin Cities, gas prices soared over $4 per gallon for unleaded fuel, up from an average of $3.85 just two days ago on May 14, according to GasBuddy.com. Average prices in the area were $4.19 per gallon today. Reports from the Bloomington, Minn., area were showing prices as high as $4.29. This represents the highest statewide average gas price in Minnesota on record. The previous record high for Minnesota statewide gas prices was $3.98 in July of 2008.
The price spikes this week have been seen around the Midwest. Minnesota appears to be affected the worst.
The reasons behind the spike point to refineries switching over to summer-grade gasoline blends. Also, oil refineries that supply to Midwestern states like Minnesota have been diverting output to states to the east to relieve shortages occuring there now.
In a blog post today on GasBuddy.com by Patrick DeHaan, he says:
"Another big question: how long will it last and how high will prices go? At this writing, prices may continue rising in these seven Plains states (MN, SD, ND, KS, IA, NE, MO) for perhaps as long as another week or two. High prices may linger if motorists continue to flood enmasse to fill their vehicles. Prices will probably not come back to the high $3s for several weeks. Prices may remain high in these areas until late May or early June."
What's the bright side for farmers? Diesel prices aren't as high as unleaded. Reports on GasBuddy in the Twin Cities are in the $3.90 range. But the Energy Information Administration's May 13 report shows that diesel prices have been on a recent upward trend. The average diesel fuel price for the Midwest jumped from $3.608 per gallon on May 6 to $3.67 on May 13. The next report from EIA will be released on May 20. GasBuddy searches for today's diesel prices in ND, WI and IA are showing prices in the $3.70-$3.90 range.
Even though diesel prices may not be as high as unleaded right now, this still comes at a bad time for Midwestern farmers as many have finally been able to get out into the fields and plant. It's a busy time when much of the farm machinery needs to be running.
Does your truck/farm vehicle run on deisel or unleaded? Have you been affected by the gas price spikes this week? Leave your comments below.