Klobuchar asks Department of Energy to act on gas prices
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has asked the U.S. Department of Energy to investigate the steep increase in Minnesota gas prices over the past few weeks.
Gasoline industry officials say regional gas prices have jumped 80 cents in the past month and 30 cents in the past week because of both unexpected and planned shutdowns at gasoline refineries.
But Klobuchar said the impact of temporary closures shouldn’t have so much impact on the price consumers have to pay.
In a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Klobuchar called on the Department of Energy to thoroughly examine the closures and timing of scheduled maintenance operations to prevent future supply shocks that cause gas prices to rise.
“This spike in gas prices is hurting families, businesses and farmers across Minnesota and disrupting commerce,” Klobuchar said. “Scheduled maintenance at refineries should not be allowed to cause such major disruptions in supply. That’s why I have called on the Department of Energy to thoroughly review the closures and the timing of maintenance operations and take action to prevent future supply problems that cause consumers pain at the pump.”
Klobuchar added that “while refiners must adjust their plants for seasonal gasoline blends and perform necessary upgrades to protect worker safety and repair equipment, scheduled maintenance should not be allowed to contribute to such a major gasoline shortage.”
According to minnesotagasprices.com, the average price today for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $3.62 nationally but $4.14 in Minnesota. That’s up from $3.46 in Minnesota four weeks ago.
Minnesota prices ranged from $3.69 to $4.29 per gallon today, including from $3.95 to $4.19 in Duluth, the website reported.