Motorists are facing short-term pain at the pumps with a sudden spike in gas prices set to continue in the coming weeks.
According to GasBuddy, the average price of unleaded in the Twin Cities on Thursday is $2.67 per gallon – a 20 cent rise on the $2.47 it was Wednesday – while in the rest of Minnesota the average is 12 cents higher at $2.60.
The reason? GasBuddy says it's down to the partial shutdown of the BP Whiting oil refinery near Chicago – which is causing a "dramatic pop" in prices across the Midwest.
Gasoline inventories in the Midwest have fallen by 900,000 barrels since the region's biggest refinery shut down its largest unit, slicing production in half, with FOX 9 reporting this has seen gas prices spike by as much as 40 cents in Michigan.
Experts told the TV station that the refinery's partial closure is a "speed bump," but one that should only be temporary – with lower gas prices expected to return through the fall and into the holiday season.
In the meantime things will get pricier, with KARE 11 reporting average prices are likely to jump to $2.79 per gallon in the Twin Cities in the coming days.
It comes less than a week after prices of regular unleaded dropped under $2 a gallon in some parts of Minnesota, with the Duluth News Tribune reporting the lowest in the state was $1.91 in Rochester – prior to the BP refinery shutdown.
According to NBC News, a 250,000 barrel-per-day crude distillation unit at the refinery – in Indiana near the Illinois border – went down with a mechanical problem, impacting not only gas production but also asphalt and jet fuel.