Dayton signs executive order to help maintain gas supply

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The simultaneous closure of three midwest refineries that's left Minnesota with some of the highest gas prices in the country is also threatening the state's gas supply.

Gov. Mark Dayton issued an emergency executive order that's intended to aid farmers.

"The late and wet spring has caused and will continue to cause a compressed planting season for Minnesota farmers," Dayton said in the order. "Relief is needed to ensure that farmers have reliable supplies of diesel fuel."

Many of the state's motor fuel terminals that distribute to local gas stations are running low or have run out of supplies, causing commercial vehicles that haul fuel to travel to alternative terminals that are farther away and often have long lines to fill up.

Dayton's temporary solution loosens regulations related to hours of service for carriers of commercial vehicles that transport fuel effective immediately, FOX 9 reports. It remains in effect for 30 days.

"Memorial Day weekend is one of the peak travel times within Minnesota and relief is needed to ensure that local gas stations are able to obtain motor fuels," the order says.

AAA says more than 30 million people across the country are expected to hit the road this weekend with gas prices estimated to be the highest in two years, USA TODAY reports.

Minnesotans are being hit especially hard from the shut-down refineries. The average gas price in the state Friday is $4.16, the third-highest in the country.

The most expensive is Hawaii, averaging $4.36 per gallon, followed by North Dakota with an average of $4.21.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar introduced legislation Thursday that would require refineries to report their maintenance schedules to the Department of Energy to prevent simultaneous closures and help avert future shortages.

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