If you’re getting ready to gas up for a trip up north this weekend, be prepared to pay a little more at the pump. Gas prices have risen on average by about 15 cents per gallon in the Twin Cities during the past week.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and six other governors are writing to President Obama asking for help in addressing the propone shortage and price increases. They are asking for the administration to help increase propane supplies through “every means of transport.”
The extreme cold isn’t just uncomfortable. It’s becoming expensive, too, especially for homeowners in rural Minnesota who rely on propane to heat their homes. Prices jumped last fall, and with several subzero nights this winter, the cost of propane continues to climb.
While cars had trouble starting Monday, dozens of planes didn’t get off the ground at all. Some airlines had to cancel flights after jet fuel actually froze at airports across the Midwest. There were 50 flights cancelled and more than two dozen delays at MSP Monday. But almost none of them had to do with the local weather, according to airport spokesman Patrick Hogan.
In the new year, Minnesota drivers are paying more at the pumps than a year ago. The average price statewide is $3.24 a gallon. That compares to $3.07 this time last year.
Several states in the upper Midwest are dealing with significantly higher prices for propane because of a supply problem caused by a late harvest, persistent very cold temperatures and the temporary shutdown of a major supply pipeline.
Disbelief? Shock? Joy? All of the above apply when it comes to filling up at the gas pump these days. AAA Minnesota reports an average price of $3 per gallon in the Twin Cities metro area.
A Canadian fuel supplier and reseller plans to enter the U.S. market with a $110 million purchase of a North Dakota fuel distribution business. Parkland Fuel Corporation, which is based in Red Deer, Alberta, said it is buying all outstanding shares of SPF Energy Inc.
Drivers in the Twin Cities area now have another option when fueling up. A higher-ethanol fuel blend called E-15 is now available at one station in south Minneapolis and could be spreading to others.
The Department of Energy released its winter fuel outlook and found homeowners with natural gas can expect increases in their heating bills of up to 13 percent.
The worst may be over for drivers in the upper Midwest who have been grappling with the highest gasoline prices in the continental U.S. Analysts said one major Illinois refinery is back online and another big one in Indiana is on track to ramp up production again soon.
Minnesota’s No. 1 in the nation, in a category few are rejoicing over. The Twin Cities’ average price for gas is the most expensive in the nation at $4.32 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com. Chicago is second ($4.28), Honolulu is third ($4.25) and Santa Barbara is fourth ($4.17).
As gas prices in Minnesota reached record high prices of about $4 per gallon, Sen. Amy Klobuchar called on the Department of Energy to take action. The gas price spike came after the closure of oil refineries in the Midwest for maintenance.
A Twin Cities grocery chain is cutting a popular rewards program. Saturday will be the last day that Rainbow Foods customers can take advantage of their “Fuelperks” cards.
Gas is now selling for about $3.76 a gallon in the Twin Cities, and motorists aren’t the only ones complaining about big jumps in prices. Independent gas stations are also feeling the squeeze.