The average price of a gallon of gasoline in Indiana has nearly doubled since this time last year, according to a AAA Hoosier Motor Club report released Friday.
Hoosiers heading to the pump one year ago paid an average of $2.18 per gallon compared to a whopping $3.01 on Friday.
Prices across the Greencastle and Putnam County areas have reflected those numbers for the past several weeks with most stations settling out just above the $3 mark.
Prices across the rest of the state are nearly the same with Bloomington reporting an average of $3.02 per gallon this week, followed by Evansville with $2.98 a gallon, Fort Wayne with $3.02 a gallon, Indianapolis with $3.01 a gallon, South Bend with $2.98 a gallon, and Terre Haute with $3 per gallon.
The high water mark resides in the northwest Indiana city of Gary, near Chicago, where the average price for regular gasoline stands at $3.14.
In the Midwest, Indiana's average of $3.01 falls short of Illinois with $3.15 and Michigan with $3.06. However Hoosiers are paying more, on average, than Ohio and Kentucky residents who are enjoying averages below the $3 mark.
In terms of crude oil, the price per barrel last August was between $63 and $64. According to Friday's report, the price for a barrel of crude oil stands at around $79 but has been fluctuating as news comes in and out of Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East.
"The latest Middle East conflict has been playing havoc with crude oil prices since mid-July," AAA Public Affairs Manager Greg Seiter said.
Some have speculated that if the United States calls for an immediate cease fire in Israel, the market would settle down and crude oil prices would drop. But the Associated Press reported Friday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the U.S. would only call for an end to the fighting if both Hezbollah and Israel determine a long-term peace plan, rather than return to the "status quo." She is expected to return to Israel soon to continue discussions on ending the violence.
Meanwhile severe storms in the Mississippi Valley last week have put a temporary halt to oil refineries in the St. Louis area, AAA reported. Power was cut to the ConocoPhillips refinery in Wood River, Ill., and cooling towers were damaged in the thunderstorms that hit the area this week.
The shutdown is anticipated to hamper gas prices for a while in the immediate area, however, analysts did not know if it would have an effect on Indiana's prices.
The record high average for the nation occurred on Sept. 5, 2005 -- following Hurricane Katrina. The national average for a gallon of regular gas at that time was $3.05 a gallon.