(GRAND RAPIDS) Lawmakers in Lansing want answers for the recent surge in gas prices. They want the attorney general to investigate why one refinery shutting down in Indiana can cause prices across the Great Lakes to jump nearly 70 cents a gallon.
“Should we be that susceptible to this kind of a fluctuation?” asks State Senator John Proos of St. Joseph.
It’s simple economics.
When supply goes down, demand goes up as does the price.
Sen. Proos understands the issue but with crude oil prices so low, he wants to know why we are getting hit with such high gas prices due to one refinery going down.
“When you look at a manufacturer when something happens with your car the manufacturer calls a recall and pays for that to be fixed they screwed up the manufacturing process,” says Sen. Proos, ” and we pay the brunt of a manufacturing failure at the pump.”
A major refinery in Indiana went down this weekend.
A refinery that pumps out 20% of Michigan’s supply.
Now less gas can be produced, increasing demand and completely innocent of crude oil price.
“Crude oil and gasoline are two different things, you can have all the crude oil in the world but if there aren’t enough refineries processing that crude oil there’s not going to be enough gasoline.”
Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy.com says this problem is only going to get worse because of government regulations shutting down refineries across North America. Sen. Proos wants to have a better fall back in case of another malfunction.
“So what you are looking at is whether or not that facility is operating appropriately, whether or not that 20 percent that we get from that particular facility in Michigan is the appropriate ratio, what are we doing to make sure we have reserves on hand to handle manufacturing changes,” the senator says.
While the Attorney General Bill Schuette decides on the investigation, we are stuck with these high prices for a while … and they may get even worse very soon.
“Stations have not yet passed on the full increase,” says DeHaan, ” so what you are seeing with 2.99 may not be as bad as it gets.”