Pumping Gas

Vanessa Hempleman of Thorp pumps gas Monday at Kwik Trip on Black Avenue in Eau Claire. Gas prices in the city have risen 20 cents per gallon in the past week, according to AAA. View more photos at LeaderTelegramPhotos.com.

EAU CLAIRE – The price of gasoline in Eau Claire has jumped 20 cents per gallon in just the past week.

That left the average price of a gallon of regular, unleaded gas on Monday at $2.64 – the highest of eight major Wisconsin cities tracked by AAA.

The forced shutdown of Gulf Coast and some Midwest refineries due to last week’s winter weather caused gas stocks to tighten and prices to skyrocket, according to a report from AAA.

Refinery outages were reported last week in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kansas.

“When close to 40% of U.S. crude production is offline because refineries are closed, there is going to be pain at the pump until operations resume,” Midwest AAA spokesman Nick Jarmusz said in a news release. “The good news is that nearly two dozen impacted refiners are expected to restart operations this week, if they haven’t already. That means regular gasoline deliveries will resume and impacted stations will be refueled.”

AAA indicated gas prices are likely to remain volatile until crude production is back to normal levels, so motorists can expect more expensive prices to stick around for a while, although large spikes are likely to subside.

Monday’s Eau Claire gas price exceeded both the state average of $2.55 and the national average of just below $2.64. The per-gallon gas price ticked up 16 cents statewide since Monday, Feb. 15.

Only Wausau, where the price rose 21 cents in the past week, registered a larger weekly increase than Eau Claire among Wisconsin cities, the report showed.

The price in Eau Claire is up from $2.26 a month ago and $2.47 a year ago.