A sign designating the site of an underground petroleum pipeline is displayed July 14, 2008 in Richmond, California. As gasoline prices continue to climb to a national average of $4.11 per gallon of regular unleaded, U.S. President George Bush announced today that he has lifted the executive ban on offshore oil drilling that his father, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush imposed during his term in office. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Pipeline fixed, so will gas prices fall?

Don't Waste Your Money

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Good news and bad news about the high price of gas.
    
By now, all drivers know that gas prices have jumped 30 cents per gallon on average nationwide in the just the past two weeks. In the Cincinnati area, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan, it's been even worse, with prices soaring to $3.89 in many areas.

Now, two new events could send those prices moving again.

The Good

First the good news: The pipeline leak that triggered the recent spike in gas prices has been fixed.

The Enbridge Wisconsin pipeline, which carries millions of gallons of oil from Canada to Chicago where it's refined into gas for the Midwest, was recently shut down due to a serious leak.

It's now back online after two weeks down, during which time gasoline futures spiked.

So prices should start heading down again.  But....

The Bad

Now the bad news: A refinery fire in California that is having an impact on gas prices as well.

AAA reports a big spike in gas prices in California the past few days, after a Chevron refinery in the San Francisco area caught fire. Much of it is now shut down.

Gas prices have now jumped above $4 a gallon in parts of the West Coast.

The Bottom Line

What does that mean for the Cincinnati area and the rest of the Midwest?

The restarting of the Wisconsin pipeline should mean a drop in pump prices, perhaps as much as 30 cents per gallon.  

But the California shutdown is now starting to have an impact nationwide, and is the wild card that could keep prices high.

In addition, oil prices are now over $90 a gallon, after falling as low as $78 earlier this summer.

Bottom line: Don't expect $2.99 gas again anytime soon.
    
As always, don't waste your money.

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