Steel Worker Strike Could Affect Gas Prices
A strike by United Steel Workers against several oil companies has expanded to refineries in Ohio and nearby states. Industry analysts are keeping close watch on possible effects on gas pump prices.
Union members are picketing a BP refinery near Toledo and a Marathon Petroleum refinery in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. Analyst Patrick DeHaan at GasBuddy.com says both refineries supply gasoline to Ohio stations.
"The strike could be a contributor to higher prices if those strikes result in reduced production of gasoline or other refined fuels and that is something we are continuing to watch," says DeHaan.
DeHaan adds both refineries continue to operate with replacement workers. The labor dispute occurs at a time when oil prices have rebounded and refineries often schedule maintenance between seasons. Both factors put upward pressure on pump prices.
"Motorists should expect that prices do continue to march up. Last year gas prices began moving up nationally February 8th and that lasted through early May. During which time the national average saw about a 30 cent per gallon rise," says DeHaan.
DeHaan says if the strikes further reduce refinery production gas prices could rise sharply.