Gas price hike

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COLUMBIA – Gas prices are typically lower at the start of winter months, according to data from GasBuddy, but drivers have recently been paying more at the pump. A series of setbacks with oil refineries and pipelines caused the state average price to reach $2.32, 36 cents higher than it was at the start of November 2016.

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said Harvey delayed the maintenance schedule of multiple oil refineries.

“Now, what’s happening is instead of refineries doing maintenance that’s more spread out, there’s more of them doing maintenance right now,” DeHaan said. “That’s causing gasoline production to drop dramatically.”

DeHaan said the slower production normally would not affect prices to a large degree because more gasoline can flow from the Gulf Coast. However, last week, the Explorer Pipeline that carries oil from the gulf was shutdown because of a gas leak. Those two issues combined have caused Missouri gasoline inventories to drop to the lowest level in two years.

Drivers like Kansas City resident Dennis Putinski are willing to be patient, but only to a certain extent.

“If it starts going up another 25 cents, I’ll probably complain,” Putinski said.

DeHaan said there is an end in sight to the rising costs.

“Prices may go up for the next few days, but I would expect that sometime next week, things could start going back to normal,” DeHaan said.