Gasoline prices approached $4 a gallon for regular unleaded Tuesday at many Toledo stations.
Prices have surged because of a disruption caused by Hurricane Isaac and continuing problems at Midwestern refineries.
The average in the Toledo area was $3.950 Tuesday afternoon, according to gasbuddy.com, which can be found at toledoblade.com/gas.
The figure is $3.99 a gallon for regular unleaded at stations across central Ohio and a regional average of $3.95, according to gasbuddy.com. That was an increase of 12 cents a gallon from Monday.
Hurricane Isaac caused little damage to Gulf Coast oil infrastructure, but the industry needed to pause to wait for the storm to pass.
That is contributing to a tight supply of gasoline, a situation exacerbated by a temporary shutdown at the Marathon Petroleum refinery in the Detroit area and ongoing maintenance at a refinery in the Chicago area, said Patrick DeHaan, an analyst for the gas-price Web site.
"This price increase is simply the normal behavior in our market," he said, adding that "normal" has meant frustrating price fluctuations. He said he doubted that many retailers would be willing to exceed $4.
Brian Milne, refined-fuels editor for Telvent DTN, which specializes in IT systems for pipeline, energy utility, traffic, agriculture and environmental monitoring industries, said the rise in prices might also be tied to the impending switch to winter-grade gasoline. Winter gas costs less than the summer blend, but refiners’ costs related to the switch are passed along. "Usually we don't see prices going this high this time of year," Mr. Milne said.