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Local Gas Prices Eclipse 2008 Records

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 3, 2011 2:20PM

Photo by jasmined
Well, it's official, readers. Local gas prices have now passed the record levels set in 2008. lists the average at $4.51 per gallon. The AAA Fuel Gauge Reports lists unleaded gas at $4.39 per gallon. Both numbers are above the July 2008 rates of $4.34-$4.35 per gallon.

The question is, why Chicago? States on the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii tend to have higher gas prices and crude oil is cheaper now by the barrel than it was three years ago. according to analyst Patrick DeHaan of says that the Midwest is hurting due to production problems at area refineries.

“BP has indicated its facility is undergoing planned maintenance. Exxon’s refinery has issues too. That facility (Joliet) encountered unplanned problems Friday. Production is down in the Midwest. That’s the exact reason we’re seeing record prices.”

Spokepeople for Exxon-Mobil and BP disputed DeHaan's analysis.

AAA Chicago's Beth Mosher laid the blame on that favorite whipping post - taxes. In Illinois, the percentage-based sales tax on gasoline is 6.25 percent. So when gas prices increase, so does the tax. Coupled with Chicago's separate tax on gasoline and things start to become more clear with regards to gas prices.

And with Memorial Day around the corner, prices might not come down soon.