CHICAGO -- Expect to see aggressively rising prices at the gas pump soon.
GasBuddy reports wholesale oil prices spiked on Wednesday. That could mean increases up to 50 cents per gallon in the next two to three weeks.
"Just since Monday, Feb. 2, wholesale prices nationwide have increased by an average of 54 cents per gallon," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. "And the west coast, by far, has seen the steepest increases, with Los Angeles wholesale pricing up $0.96/gallon, San Francisco up $0.84 and the Pacific Northwest up by $0.73."
While some of the rally is attributed to the seasonal decline in gasoline inventory; reduced refinery output and the shift to summer grades of gasoline, there have also been significant operational issues at refineries in five states. And of course, the United Steelworkers Union strike that began Feb. 1 exacerbates operations at 12 refineries where they've imposed 'work stoppages' in California, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.