‘I can’t believe it’: Gas prices rise in the Midwest after ’emergency’ shut-down
The average price of a gallon of regular gas in the Great Lakes region has jumped above $2.30, according to a new survey.
Gas prices were up 1.4 cents, or 3.5 per cent, in the Midwestern region in the week ended June 1, the National Association of Convenience Stores reported.
In the past week, gas prices in Minnesota jumped to the highest levels since the early 1990s.
The price increase has coincided with a record-breaking number of natural gas fires in the region, including two in the state’s Twin Cities area.
In Minnesota, which has a population of almost 6 million, a total of 11,527 natural gas wells were shut down, according the Natural Gas Association of Minnesota.
“There’s a lot of natural fires burning in the United States, and in the last week alone, we’ve seen multiple fires burning across the country, and the number is only going to increase,” said Jim Gershman, president of the Minnesota Natural Gas Coalition, which is calling for more federal action to address the situation.
The average monthly price of gas in Minnesota has risen about 15 per cent since June 1 compared with a year ago.
The Midwest is also seeing an uptick in the number of power outages.
In Michigan, there were 17,938 outages from June 1 to June 30, up from 14,082 a year earlier, according a report released by the Michigan Power & Light Commission.
On Thursday, Michigan Power Company said its customers were without power for three straight days.
In Illinois, an outage caused by a wildfire shut down electricity to some 1,000 homes, while in New Jersey, a power outage caused a power outage affecting 4,000 customers.
In addition, about 6,000 outages are reported in California and 7,000 in Arizona, according TOO’s data.
In Florida, about 1,400 outages have been reported in the past three days, according data from the Florida Department of Energy.
In Pennsylvania, more than 2,000 people were without heat, water or power Thursday, the state said.
In Missouri, nearly 8,000 were without electricity, the governor’s office said.
“This is the most severe weather we’ve ever had in the history of this state,” Governor Jay Nixon said Thursday, adding that the state is in “total emergency mode” following the fires.
Nixon has said the state needs to be ready to handle natural disasters.
“We have to be able to protect ourselves,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Gov.
Rick Scott ordered the evacuation of more than 5,000 residents in the southeastern part of the state, including the towns of St. Louis, Waukesha and Springfield.
“These are communities that have a history of having very, very high rates of poverty, low income, and we need to make sure we get them out of there as quickly as possible,” Scott said Thursday.
“I want to make absolutely clear that there will be no extra costs to the state of Missouri, including through our tax dollars.”
He said he ordered the move after the fire burned through much of the area and threatened many homes.
Scott’s order has prompted calls for more spending on emergency response.
Scott is going to take every single dollar of this disaster tax and put it towards the relief of our first responders and first responders,” Scott’s chief of staff, Brad Johnson, told the Chicago Tribune.
“The governor believes in emergency response and he believes in making sure that we get these people out as quickly and safely as possible.”