Chicago drivers pay top dollar for gas

Feb. 4, 2013 at 9:04 AM

CHICAGO, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Rising crude oil prices and refinery issues in the Midwest mean commuters Monday in the Chicago metropolitan area paid top dollar for gasoline, AAA reports.

Motor group AAA reports drivers in Illinois and Indiana are paying the highest price ever at the beginning of February for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.

"Drivers in Illinois and Indiana are seeing significant price increases due to rising crude oil prices, decreased gasoline supplies and area refinery issues," said Beth Mosher, AAA Chicago spokeswoman.

PBF Energy states that it "will take several weeks" before its refinery in Toledo, Ohio, returns to full operations. Parts of the refinery have been running at either standby or at reduced capacity since a fire New Year's Eve.

Drivers in Chicago metropolitan area paid, on average, $3.80 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline Monday. That's 40 cents, or more than 11 percent, higher than prices reported one month ago.

AAA reports that regional gasoline prices for the start of February are among the highest ever reported for the month. For the Chicago metropolitan area, drivers in February 2012 paid, on average, $3.59 per gallon of regular unleaded.

Bloomberg News reports Monday that Brent crude oil prices for March delivery are down, however, 0.36 percent to $116.34 per barrel.

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