In recent days, the pain at the pump has certainly eased on the West Coast. Average gasoline prices in California, Oregon, and Washington are down 10c/gal in the last week- great news for motorists there.

Meanwhile, taking a trip up Route 66 would yield rising prices near the end of the road in Chicago, IL, and the rest of Great Lakes states where wholesale costs are at their highest since April 23, as Marathon's Wood River, IL refinery outside St. Louis, performs maintenance earlier than expected. Another issue at a Marathon facility in Kentucky on June 4 may also be playing a role, as a failed pump resulted in a partial shut down of that Marathon facility.

In the latest EIA report, Midwest gasoline inventories also posted a drop, also a contributing factor to the higher prices. At press time, prices were beginning to spike in Michigan to $3.89, Indiana saw increases to $3.85, while Ohio saw prices jump to $3.79. Areas of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri may also see prices jump for the aforementioned reasons.

Wholesale gasoline prices, the price that a gas station pays for its gasoline excluding taxes and freight, was twenty five cents per gallon higher than the next lowest region, and stood 38c/gal higher than the average wholesale cost across the nation. Surprisingly, the West Coast now boasts of some of the cheapest wholesale gasoline prices, coming just shortly after BP's Cherry Point, WA refinery came back online. This shows how important operating refineries are in the summer months, and again begs the question why Marathon would perform maintenance in the heart of peak driving season.

An e-mail to a Marathon spokesperson asking why Marathon would be performing maintenance in the middle of the peak driving reason was not returned by press time.