$4.24 for gas in Menomonie: What's behind the soaring price? - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

$4.24 for gas in Menomonie: What's behind the soaring price?

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Menomonie (WQOW) - The buzz around town is the changing, or soaring price at the pump.  At $4.04 a gallon, the price of gas in Eau Claire is nearing a record.  It already set a record in Menomonie Thursday. 

"This is the biggest jump I've seen, ever," says Menomonie Mayor Randy Knaack.

At about 3:30 Thursday afternoon in Menomonie gas prices at Super America on Stout Road are sitting at about $4.24 a gallon. At the same time, just a quarter of a mile down the road, gas prices at the Cenex station are 27 cents cheaper.

"It's the first time I've seen gas prices as high as they are. I know that it's higher than across the United States the average right now is $3.59," says Mayor Knaack.

If you compare our prices to those farther south, regular unleaded in states like South Carolina and Tennessee is nearly $1 cheaper.

"There's a big problem right now with getting enough gasoline, and the tightness in supply is just causing prices to balloon," says Patrick DeHaan, with gasbuddy.com.

Dehaan says that's due to a number of factors, like oil refineries in the Plains states going down.

"There's not a whole lot of gasoline available and a lot of people are bidding for it, so that drives prices up," says DeHaan.

And the long winter could also be to blame.

"It's the start of the driving season, and the switch over to summer gasoline. If the switch over would have occurred in April, we would have just seen this in April instead," DeHaan says.

Summer gasoline blends are more expensive to make, because they burn cleaner.

"I think we need to take a hard look at what we're doing and how we're doing it for future generations, because I think we're going down the wrong direction, I think the oil companies have us over a barrel, you might say," says Mayor Knaack.

"It'll take a few weeks, but there is some hope on the horizon, this is definitely not something that will last all summer," DeHaan says.

If you're wondering about the price of oil, it rose 86 cents Thursday to $95.16 a barrel.

The record in Eau Claire is around $4.10.  That happened in July of 2008 when oil was trading at $145 a barrel.

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