Gas Prices on the Rise in Recent Weeks
By Jim Meadows
Gasoline prices in Champaign-Urbana were higher than the Illinois average earlier this month, and then started going down, counter to state and national trends.
But the gasoline price tracking website GasBuddy.com said Champaign-Urbana gas prices started going up against around Valentine’s day.
Currently the average price of a gallon of Regular in Champaign-Urbana is currently around $3.78 per gallon --- lower than the Illinois average, but higher than the national average.
GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan said hikes in gasoline prices are typical this time of year, as refineries reduce their output so they can perform seasonal maintenance.
“Refineries slow down production at their facilities, so they can take part of them offline to perform upgrades and other maintenance as they see fit,” DeHaan said. “And because of those upgrades and that maintenance, gasoline production takes a bit of a hit until they’re done performing that maintenance.”
But DeHaan said the refinery slowdown and resulting hike in gas prices came earlier than it had in recent years. He thinks the early increase does not bode well for the spring, when prices tend to go up the most.