Indiana gas prices spike as Gulf Coast feels Isaac's wrath

Marisela Burgos

6:49 PM CDT, August 29, 2012


Did you notice how gas prices spiked overnight? Blame Isaac.

That's what the experts say.
Some Hoosiers got the bitter news as they arrived to fill up their vehicles Wednesday.

"Yes. We've been robbed," said John Smith, who was filling up at Keystone and 96th Street.

"It's bad that you gotta choose between gas and food a lot of times now 'cause gas is $4," said another customer who'd arrived for a fill-up.
Other people had no clue that gas prices jumped so much around Central Indiana.

"Once it got above $3 a gallon, I stopped looking. It's depressing. You realize how much I am spending to get to and from work," said Chris Sharp, another customer.
Experts said the price spike shouldn't last long.
"It should've happened yesterday. Prices did go up yesterday. It may have one up by 20 cents, but wholesale prices went up 40 cents," said Scot Imus, Executive Director of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association.

"If an Indiana retailer was selling fuel profitable yesterday, he would have done above $4 a gallon and I don't think anybody ever got there."
Imus said those same whole sale prices fell by 13 cents today.

"So hopefully, we've gone through the panic of the hurricane," he said. "We've gone through all those other issues that they aren't going to be a factor and prices will start to work their way down."
Experts believe gas prices will start dropping within a week or so, but it all hinges on Isaac.

Tom Bodin, chief economist with the Indiana Attorney General's office, said the sooner Hurricane Isaac moves off, the sooner refineries can begin running again.

Hoosiers will then see gas prices drop. For now, Bodin said 82 percent of refinery capacity is shut down and 92 percent of crude oil is locked down, leaving Hoosiers with few options.

Drivers like Smith said there isn't much he can do about it other than try to find the best prices on websites like Gas Buddy.

"Gotta live with it like anything...(you) gotta live with it," Smith said.
Bodin said the Attorney General's office has received 30 complaints about gas gouging within the last 48 hours. He said the department is looking into it. If you have any complaints or suspect price gouging, you can call 866-241-9753.