NewsChannel5 viewers have been emailing and calling the station all week asking why Ohio gas prices are so high, when the price of oil is plunging.
The price of regular gas shot up 30 cents this week across most of northern Ohio . Last week, a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.43. On Monday, $3.57 and on Thursday, it was as high as $3.79.
This comes the same time crude oil has fallen from $100 to $83 a barrel, and when local travelers are finding gas as low as $2.99 in Tennessee and Myrtle Beach, S.C.
"I just filled up for $3.10 in Tennessee," Sam Keifer of Alexandria, Ky., said. "Ohio prices are insane!"
What's going on?
Not Summer Blend This Time
Don't blame cleaner summer grade gasoline for the recent spike at the pump. Experts said that switchover happened in April and accounts for about a five-cent increase per gallon, NewsChannel5's Paul Kiska reported.
So what's to blame for the spike in prices at the pumps now?
AAA reports that the national average is $3.54. But the group says in Ohio the average price has soared to $3.73 a gallon this week, with $3.79 in much of the Cleveland area.
Even many gas station owners are frustrated because they say if a big chain like a box store or grocery store chain raises its prices, the little gas station across the street has to raise its price.
Otherwise they'll sell out of the lower priced gas before the next supply, and no one will go in the store to buy anything if they have no gas. They can't risk running out.
Raising Prices to make up for Recent Losses?
One of Ohio's largest gas seller, Speedway, won't talk about how it sets prices.
But Terry Flemming with the Ohio Petroleum Council said he believes one of the big chains raised their prices to make up for money lost when oil prices were high. Some Ohio stations claim they were losing money when pump prices recently dropped to $3.49 in some areas.
Pat LaVecchia, owner of Pat's Auto Service on Detroit Road, who is on the Board of Directors for the Ohio Petroleum Retailers Association agrees.
LaVecchia said the spike at the pump came as a shock to him and makes no sense, especially because the price of oil has dropped 40 percent the past two months, and should've meant about a 30 to 50 cent drop per gallon of gas at the pump.
LaVecchia believes big oil companies will blame a distribution or refinery problem in the Midwest, but said it's probably a case of just trying to make bigger profits.
For the latest gas prices around northeast Ohio go to http://www.wcpo.com/subindex/traffic/gas_prices to use our interactive map.
To download money-saving gas apps go to http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/science_tech/money-saving-gas-apps.
As always, don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
"Like" John Matarese on Facebook
Follow John on Twitter
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Don't Waste Your Money
John Matarese finds dozens of new, higher price stickers on JCPenney's merchandise
John Matarese reports on Penney's unprecedented apology to shoppers.
Need to make extra money this year? How about renting out your car? It's a new money-maker for some northeast Ohio residents.