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Tornadoes push up gas prices in US

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Following the intense weather conditions that hit the of the US last week, seven of the nation's refineries were temporarily shut down across the South, exacerbating strains on supply and spiking fuel prices.

Only six states were averaging in excess of US$ 4 a gallon for regular gasoline two weeks ago. Before the tornadoes, two more states had joined the list last week. However, there are now 13 states above the US$ 4 a gallon, with another 10 states at an average of $3.937 a gallon or higher, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.

The AAA Fuel Gauge Report uses data compiled from more than 100 000 retail outlets across the US by the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express.

The report said that the national average for regular grade gasoline had risen to US$ 3.952 a gallon, up from US$ 3.863 a week ago. In California, home to the nation's second most expensive gasoline, the average price rose to US$ 4.259 a gallon, up from US$ 4.217 a week earlier.

The price spike is most likely due to a combination of the tail end of the spring maintenance season and the adverse weather. However, the majority of the problems in refinery operations were due to power outages, meaning that the refineries are expected back online very shortly.

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