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Forum News Service, Published May 16 2013

Klobuchar asks Energy Department to act on gas prices

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has asked the U.S. Department of Energy to investigate the steep increase in Minnesota gas prices over the past few weeks.

Gasoline industry officials say regional gas prices have jumped 80 cents over the past month and 30 cents in the past week because of both unexpected and planned shutdowns at refineries. Klobuchar said temporary closures shouldn’t be allowed to cause so much impact on the price consumers have to pay.

In a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Klobuchar called on the Energy Department to thoroughly examine the timing of scheduled maintenance operations to prevent future supply shocks that cause gas prices to rise.

“This spike in gas prices is hurting families, businesses and farmers across Minnesota and disrupting commerce,” Klobuchar said in the letter. “Scheduled maintenance at refineries should not be allowed to cause such major disruptions in supply.”

According to minnesotagasprices.com, the average price Thursday afternoon for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $3.63 nationally but nearly $4.16 in Minnesota. That’s up from $3.46 in Minnesota four weeks ago. Minnesota prices ranged from $3.69 to $4.29 per gallon Thursday, the website reported Thursday.