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Motorists line up to get gas before weekend price hike

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 10:56 AM

The Spring Lake High School junior said he noticed the price while heading home from school, picked up his paycheck at work and came back to the east end of the village because gas prices had already gone up to $3.96 per gallon at other local stations.

Pam Macy of Whitehall had the same idea.

“I came over to my son and daughter-in-law’s, and saw that (the gas price) was $3.67,” Macy said. “My tank was empty so I decided to fill up.”

Macy said she knew prices were supposed to go up sometime before the weekend and she had missed her opportunity at home.

“It was already $3.99 in Whitehall,” she said. “I never thought I’d see it this cheap.”

Gasbuddy.com senior analyst Patrick DeHaan said “the significant reason is that wholesale prices spiked because of an unexpected outage at an Exxon refinery in Joliet, Ill.” DeHaan said this caused “panic buying” by the suppliers who wanted to make sure their stations did not run out of gas during the holiday weekend.

The station owners then increase their prices so they don’t get caught eating an increase, DeHaan said.

“It may be a week or two before we see prices come back to where they were in the $3.70s,” DeHaan said. “We should see a slow trickle down now.”

DeHaan said he did not expect to see a big price hike again until August, depending on the hurricane season.

Outside the Great Lakes area, gas pump prices continue to average below the $3.80 or so, DeHaan said. The Gulf Coast area is between $3.50 and $3.60 a gallon.

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