Washington D.C. - A report released on Friday shows the skyrocketing costs of last year's Midwestern gas prices is due in part to refinery closures.
The closures cost businesses and consumers in Minnesota more than $109 million dollars and totaled $1 billion across the Midwest region.
Refinery closures were a key factor in the gasoline shortages and resulting price swings.
U-S Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced legislation requiring refineries to report maintenance schedules to the Department of Energy to help prevent simultaneous closures, and avert shortages, after multiple refinery closures led to a surge in gas prices. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has now begun releasing new information about planned oil refinery outages to avoid overlapping closure that could lead to price spikes.
Senator Klobuchar says the average retail price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Minnesota shot up 81 cents between April 15 and May 20 of last year.
Prices did not come back down until five weeks after that peak. During that same time frame, prices for a regular gallon of gasoline increased by 42 cents across the Midwest region.
While a number of factors can influence the cost of gasoline nationally, regional price spikes are often triggered by problems in local refinery output and distribution.
The routine refinery closings coincided with additional, unanticipated shutdowns. Those closures, combined with transport and delivery delays, caused a supply chain breakdown and region-wide gasoline shortages.
Sen. Klobuchar is working to crack down on excessive oil speculation on Wall Street and deliver more options to consumers at the gas pump, working to promote an "all of the above" energy agenda integrating next generation biofuels with traditional fuel sources.