LANSING (AP) - The worst may be over for drivers in the upper Midwest who have been grappling with the highest gasoline prices in the continental U.S.
Analysts said one major Illinois refinery is back online and another big one in Indiana is on track to ramp up production again soon. The refineries' ongoing maintenance - which led to reduced supply and higher prices - are the primary culprits for the surge at the pump.
"On balance I think the worst is over," Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at GasBuddy.com, said Tuesday.
Exxon Mobil's refinery in Joliet, Ill., was offline longer than expected, he said. Assuming there are no hiccups with BP's plans to soon restart a crude unit at its refinery in Whiting, Ind., prices could drop below $4 a gallon within weeks throughout a five-state region stretching from Wisconsin to Ohio, according to experts.
"You just have one refinery issue after another. As they're coming back on, that should be a big thing," said Phil Flynn, chief energy analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.