MILWAUKEE, Wis. May 17 (Reuters) - Retail gasoline prices hit all-time highs on Friday in several U.S. Midwestern cities due to maintenance and outages at refineries in the region resulting in a tightening of supplies, according to industry analysts.
The price of a gallon of gasoline hit a record $4.32 in Minneapolis; $4.02 in Fargo, North Dakota, and $3.92 in Oklahoma City, according to Patrick DeHaan, a petroleum analyst at Gasbuddy.com.
The Midwest “is seeing pretty significant jumps because of very tight supply in oil refining situations,” DeHaan said.
The surge in prices in the Midwest has pushed the average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States from $3.57 a week ago to $3.62 on Friday, the largest increase since February, said Green.
Drivers throughout Minnesota and Oklahoma along with Washington, Oregon, Nebraska and Iowa have seen prices increase by more than 20 cents a gallon during the latest week. Prices jumped in 13 other states by more than a dime last week, according to statistics from the American Automobile Association.
“It’s the world we live now,” said Jeff Bucher, a 57-year-old driver in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after he paid $3.92 for a gallon of gas. “What are we going to do about it, walk?”
Drivers in the Minneapolis have been hit the hardest, paying 92 cents more than they were a month ago and the most in the United States including Honolulu, where prices are typically the highest, DeHaan said.
Scheduled maintenance at refineries at the BP Whiting Refinery in Indiana and at the ExxonMobil Joliet Refinery in Illinois has played a role in decreasing the supply of gasoline, according to Michael Green, who tracks prices for the American Automobile Association.
Green also noted outages at HollyFrontier refineries in Tulsa, Oklahoma and El Dorado, Kansas as well as at the Citgo LeMont Refinery in Illinois have contributed to the tightening of supply.
“It makes supplies very tight and if anything else happens to mess up the situation, the prices will go up even faster,” Green said.
A 10 percent increase in the price of crude oil since April has pushed prices higher at the pump, according to Green.