Why are gas prices going up in Ohio right now?

Why are gas prices going up in Ohio right now?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Gas prices in Cleveland and Ohio are spiking and they may hit levels we haven't seen since 2015, according to analysts with GasBuddy.com.

"Motorists are cautioned to prepare for higher gas prices soon," says Patrick DeHaan, the head of Petroleum Analysis for GasBuddy.

The last time gas prices were impacted like this was in August 2015, because of a major BP refinery outage.

The Great Lakes region is getting hit the hardest which includes Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, and there are three specific reasons.

"The issues at work that are driving prices up so quickly: refinery maintenance, a major pipeline outage and low gasoline inventories," says DeHaan.

You can blame the first problem on Hurricane Harvey.

Even though the storm didn't cause extensive pipe damage, some refineries waited to shut down for normally scheduled maintenance until after all was said and done. Now that maintenance is colliding with other refineries shutting down.

Secondly, a leak in a major pipeline last week has interrupted relief supplies to be sent from the Gulf Coast, according to DeHaan.

When you add up the first two problems they equal the third problem. "All of these issues have pushed gasoline inventories to their lowest levels in more than two years," says DeHaan.

"GasBuddy estimates gas prices could soon rise to $2.99 in Michigan, $2.95 in Indiana and $2.89 in Ohio and Kentucky.

Prices in Illinois, mainly around Chicago, could exceed $3 per gallon," advises DeHaan.

When the pipeline leak is repaired we could see some relief.

DeHaan says the repair could be completed in a few days, but that it will still take more maintenance to set it right.

Plus the refinery outages will still be in place for a few weeks.

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