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Minnesota Senator Blames DoE for High Prices

Minnesota Senator Al Franken, whose state has suffered from record gas prices in the run up to Memorial Day weekend, has placed the blame for this spike in part on the Department of Energy. Senator Franken argues that the DoE’s decision to stop publishing refinery maintenance reports made it impossible to coordinate scheduled shutdowns in a way that would minimally disrupt prices at the pump. The Duluth News Tribune writes:

“The reports, authorized under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, were intended to help oil companies avoid shutting down multiple refineries in the same region of the country at the same time. The department stopped publishing the reports and collecting data from refineries in 2011, citing a reduction in funding, Franken said.

Franken, D-Minn., challenged Adam Sieminski, head of the Energy Information Administration, about the issue in a hearing Tuesday after Sieminski acknowledged that simultaneous refinery shutdowns were contributing to the price spikes.

‘Gas prices in Minnesota have gone up in a startling way,’Franken said. ‘And the spike is related to multiple refinery outages in the Midwest.’”

Meanwhile, there is little relief in sight for consumers in the Midwest. The following chart from Cars.com illustrates exactly how much these refinery shutdowns have wreaked havoc on prices over the last week alone.

With the Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, all too many drivers will likely continue to feel the pain of high prices for theĀ foreseeableĀ future.

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