Klobuchar presses Energy Dept. over gas price spike

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar is asking the Department of Energy to take action over record high gas prices of more than $4 with little relief in sight.

WCCO reports the spike came after the simultaneous closure of three oil refineries in the Midwest for maintenance.

"Scheduled maintenance at refineries should not be allowed to cause such major disruptions in supply," Klobuchar said in a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu Thursday. "That’s why I have called on the Department of Energy to thoroughly review the closures and the timing of maintenance operations and take action to prevent future supply problems that cause consumers pain at the pump.”

FOX 9 has Klobuchar's letter in its entirety posted on their website.

Gasoline industry officials say regional gas prices have jumped 80 cents over the past month and 30 cents in the past week, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Minnesota is feeling the most pain at the pump relative to other midwestern states with an average of $3.99, the fourth-highest in the country, according to AAA. Only Alaska, California and Hawaii have averages above $4.

Thursday's national average is $3.60.

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Blame Chicagoland for high gas prices in the Twin Cities

As of Tuesday, AAA reported gas prices in Minnesota had jumped 19 cents per gallon over the past seven days -- 18 cents higher than the national average. Experts say the culprit is Chicago. The Pioneer Press reports the metropolis is fueled by a number of Midwest refineries, but three of those refineries have been completely or partially off-line for maintenance.