NEW YORK — Drivers are being hit with the biggest one-day jump in gasoline prices in 18 months just as the last heavy driving weekend of the summer approaches.
As Hurricane Isaac swamps the nation's oil and gas hub along the Gulf Coast, it's delivering sharply higher pump prices to storm-battered residents of Louisiana and Mississippi — and also to unsuspecting drivers up north in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
The national average price of a gallon of gas jumped almost five cents Wednesday to $3.80, the highest ever for this date. Prices are expected to continue to climb through Labor Day weekend, the end of the summer driving season.
"The national average will keep ticking higher, and it's going to be noticeable," says Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at Gasbuddy.com.
The wide storm shut down several refineries along the Gulf Coast, and others are operating at reduced rates. In all, about 1.3 million barrels per day of refining capacity is affected. So, it's no surprise that drivers in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida saw gas prices rise by a dime or more in the past week.
But some states in the Midwest are suffering even more dramatic spikes. Ohio prices jumped 14 cents, Indiana prices soared 13 cents and Illinois prices jumped 10 cents on Wednesday alone, according to the Oil Price Information Service. Days before Isaac is expected to douse those states with rain, the storm forced the shutdown of a pipeline that serves a number of Midwest refineries.
Drivers in the region were angry and confused. "I saw gas in my neighborhood for $3.56 a gallon just Tuesday morning, and now I'm paying $3.95. It's terrible," said Mary Allen of Cincinnati as she paid $20 for just over five gallons of gas. She wondered how Isaac could drive up gas prices in Ohio — and then resigned herself to a holiday weekend without travel.
- Utah ranks No. 1 for economic outlook for...
- Kennecott lays off roughly 100 workers Thursday
- US companies challenging contraception mandate
- Mistake or miracle: New evidence on the...
- 'Mantiques' could be a ticket to more cash
- Low US energy prices make Euro leaders see green
- S.L. draws up airport plans
- The future of food? 3D printing moves beyond...
- S.L. draws up airport plans 33
- Couples registry gets preliminary nod... 29
- US companies challenging contraception... 18
- Should we let wunderkinds drop out of... 13
- Obama opposes GOP bill on Keystone XL... 11
- IRS official to take the 5th at hearing 8
- Obama threatens veto of Republican... 7
- Utah ranks No. 1 for economic outlook... 7