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Published May 16, 2013, 06:02 PM

MN gas prices exceed highest average, ND follows suit

Gas prices in Minnesota have now reached the highest average ever at $3.99 a gallon. Economists say North Dakota will also top its record high of $4.08 a gallon within a few days.

Gas prices in Minnesota have now reached the highest average ever at $3.99 a gallon. Economists say North Dakota will also top its record high of $4.08 a gallon within a few days.

Gas prices around the area have jumped from about $3.79 a gallon at most stations to nearly $4.10 seemingly overnight. A AAA spokesman tells me record highs are hitting the Midwest due to oil refineries in Chicago being shut down for maintenance. The two refineries are expected to be closed until after Memorial Day. Local economists say prices will likely stay high through the summer.

David Flynn: UND Economics Professor: "The issue is one of refinery capacity overall and we haven't seen new refineries built since the seventies. So these kinds of problems are going to persist when a refinery goes offline for regular maintenance or a refinery goes offline for unexpected reasons."

Once the refineries are back up and running, Flynn expects prices to gradually drop up to 50 cents a gallon. There is one little way to save at the pumps, at least for a few minutes once a week here at University Station. During a radio station promotion unleaded gas will be sold for $1.08 cents a gallon for eighty minutes every Friday in May.

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