Kansas City, Mo. Consumers are beginning to pay more at the pump because flooding at a southeast Kansas refinery has reduced fuel supplies and sent wholesale prices soaring, industry experts said.
Prices spiked 10 cents a gallon overnight at some stations. By the end of the week, prices could reach $3.25 to $3.50 a gallon in the Midwest and Great Lakes, said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.
Before last week's flooding, the Coffeyville Resources refinery produced 108,000 barrels per day of gasoline, diesel and other fuel oils, representing about one-seventh of the refining capacity for the Great Plains, Kloza said.
"Coffeyville lit the fuse," Kloza said, adding that problems at a Valero refinery in Ardmore, Okla., and a BP refinery in Whiting, Ind., near Chicago also were contributing to high wholesale prices. "Ardmore was a basic hiccup for a U.S. refinery. But having a hiccup on the backside of kind of a major organ disappearing is pretty serious."
He said distributors are paying about 40 cents to 50 cents more a gallon now than at the end of June.
The price increases have already hit Lawrence, with prices Tuesday hitting $3.15 and above.
"Oh my gosh, it jumped," Diana Johnson, 45, said Tuesday evening as she pulled into Kwik Shop, 3440 W. Sixth St., to fill up her Toyota Corolla.
The Lawrence private care provider saw the $3.25 per gallon unleaded gasoline price, which several Lawrence stations had matched by the evening. Higher prices do sting, Johnson says, because she often has to run errands around the city for her business.
She believed she had the increases figured out because the last few times they spiked around holidays where more drivers would be taking trips.
"Now I thought inflation - the cost of living is going up," she said.