Refinery Damage Impacts Gas Prices

Cindy Zimmerman

Gas prices are on the rise again. Since July 1, gas prices have increased on average of more than 40 cents due in part to diminished refining capacity. Flooding and lightening related fire incidences have closed refineries in certain parts of the nation.

This is giving some fuel suppliers the jitters, like Gary Wright, vice president of Wright Oil, Inc., based in Central South Kansas.

“As we are watching the supply situation develop, we’re beginning to wonder if we are going to have adequate supplies for all our stations,” said Wright. “We’re currently selling no-lead gasoline for $3.36 but the E-85 is $2.80 per gallon. We’re hopeful that the price of ethanol will stay more or less stable or maybe decline, while the price of gasoline continues to go up, up, up.”

States affected by the numerous refineries that have incurred damage are: Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Okalahoma, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and parts of Ohio.

Tom Slunecka, executive director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) says the unfortunate occurrence of multiple weather related incidents affecting the Midwest oil refining industry are further highlighting this country’s need for diversification of our transportation fuel needs.

“We have a very sensitive system that creates and distributes the gasoline that this country uses, especially in the Midwest,” said Slunecka. “Fortunately, the ethanol industry has been working for many years to help alleviate these issues and we now have well over 100 ethanol production facilities on line producing over 5.5 billion gallons.”

Wright believes the increased ethanol production will be able to hold the prices down.

“So we are expecting that we’ll be able to offer some good value to our customers with E85 as opposed to straight gasoline,” he says.

Listen to audio sound bites from Wright and Slunecka on this issue here:

Audio, EPIC, Ethanol, News