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Gas prices continue spike in Twin Cities, no relief in sight

GasBuddy petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan says the national average for fuel has risen for the past 5 weeks, and in Minnesota the average is now $3.41 per gallon.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Drivers across Minnesota continue their roller coaster ride at the pump, with prices jumping for the fifth week in a row. 

Consumer app GasBuddy says Twin Cities motorists are shelling out an average of $3.43 per gallon, up 14.4 cents from the previous week. Those numbers are based on GasBuddy's regular survey of 1,006 stations across the metro. 

The cheapest station has fuel priced at $2.98, the most expensive is $3.99. Twin Cities fuel prices are 42.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and 24.8 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. 

Gas Buddy reports that diesel has risen 5.4 cents in the last week, with the national average at $4.65 per gallon. 

Making matters worse, says GasBuddy petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan, is that there is little to suggest the price trend is going to turn around any time soon. 

"The national average price of gasoline has risen for the fifth straight week as retailers pass along the rise in wholesale gasoline prices due to continued challenges," shared De Haan. "Refinery utilization that still hasn't fully recovered from December's cold weather, and refinery maintenance season that's just around the corner." 

"Because of the surge in prices last spring, many refineries that had planned maintenance deferred maintenance until 2023," he continued. "With the can kicked to this year, we may have similar challenges producing enough refined products to meet demand, especially with the European Union cutting off refined products from Russia starting February 5."

Our neighbors are doing a tich better, pricewise, with Wisconsin averaging $3.27 per gallon (up 7.2 cents) and South Dakota at $3.34, up 15.4 cents.  

For a bit of perspective, gas was pumping for $2.06 as recently as January of 2019.

The extreme weather in much of the United States near the end of last year isn't helping, according to a CNN Business story on rising fuel prices. It caused a series of outages at refineries that produce the gasoline, jet fuel and diesel that keep the economy humming.

For example, CNN says, Colorado’s sole refinery, the Suncor refinery outside of Denver, was disrupted by freezing temperatures. When the refinery tried to restart, it suffered a fire and equipment got damaged. Suncor says that refinery could be offline for at least weeks, partially explaining why Colorado's gas prices have surged over $1 in the past month.

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