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Experts don’t expect Ohio’s gas price hikes to continue

Ohio sees largest pump price increase in U.S.
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 9:36 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Ohio saw the largest gas price increase in the nation last week. It’s pain at the pump we haven’t seen in nearly a year and a half.

The national average of $2.64 is the highest since October 2019, according to AAA. Experts attribute the hikes to last week’s winter freeze that stretched from Ohio to Texas.

“We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature,” said Kara Hitchens, a AAA spokesperson.

The organization said the weather led to the shutdown of close to 40 percent of the country’s crude production. But the spike isn’t expected to last too much longer. Two dozen impacted refineries are supposed to restart operations this week. There were refinery outages last week reported in six states, including Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kansas.

“We expect once they start to open back up and things start running normally again down in the Gulf Coast, we expect those gas prices will start to come back down again,” Hitchens said.

But, she notes we are just weeks away from seeing gas stations transition from winter to summer-blend fuels, which are more expensive. So the spikes may subside, but the more expensive prices could stick around. Ohio drivers saw the average price for a gallon of gas go up 22 cents in the last week, while Michigan saw a 17-cent spike. Hitchens said the Midwest typically gets hit hard when the country sees pump prices go up.

“No one’s ever really been able to say exactly why that is, but it’s a trend that we’ve seen for several years,” she said.

Our region wasn’t alone. The shutdown of some Gulf Coast and Midwest refineries last week shot prices up across the nation -- 66% of the U.S. saw averages increase by double digits.

“Pack your patience at the pump,” Hitchens said. “Know that prices will start to level out.”

To keep your own gas usage down, AAA recommends doing whatever you can to increase your fuel efficiency. That includes doing things like practicing good car maintenance and have good driving habits.

Click here for more tips on increasing your fuel efficiency.

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