If you live under a rock and somehow are reading this blog, you may not be aware that problems with refineries and pipelines in Illinois and Wisconsin are making a great impact on gasoline prices in that region. States affected include Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. So far today, average prices are up 7.7c/gal in Illinois, 8.2c/gal in Michigan, 7.4c/gal in Indiana, 5.3c/gal in Wisconsin, 7.0c/gal in Ohio, and up 2.3c/gal in Kentucky. Keep in mind these averages will continue to rise as prices at the pump continue rising at more stations as the day wears on.

The increase in these states is so massive, it has pulled up the national average by almost 3c/gal at this moment today. Without the above mentioned states, the national average would be $3.52, while with the states included, we're currently at $3.55/gal. What a massive impact!

To add insult to injury, there are also scattered refinery problems elsewhere: a refinery in Tulsa, Oklahoma caught fire overnight and may lead to slightly higher prices in that area and in Oklahoma in the next few days. Also, a problem was reported at a San Francisco refinery, boosting wholesale prices along the West Coast. It may hit pumps in the next few days as well.

Can we catch a break? Well, we can, but it'll take a month or so. A majority of the U.S. will switch back over to cheaper and more simple winter gasoline, a blend that costs less to produce, just in time for the yearly expiration of the EPA's clean burning gasoline laws. Thank goodness.