Weather Updates

Chicago gas prices highest in nation: $4.14 a gallon

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Updated: July 8, 2011 2:32PM

The Chicago area has felt relief from record prices for gasoline, but it still registers the highest average prices among major cities.

The U.S. Energy Dept.’s latest weekly survey listed Chicago’s average price for regular at $4.141 a gallon. The survey was finished Monday and ranked Chicago prices highest among 10 cities, with Los Angeles and San Francisco the runners-up.

Gas prices here have slipped about 25 cents a gallon since hitting all-time highs in early May. But Chicago’s prices always are relatively costly, and analysts blame taxes that are the steepest in the nation and a federal requirement for a more expensive fuel grade that reduces pollution.

David Sykuta, executive director of the Illinois Petroleum Council, said state and Chicago-area governments apply both sales and per-gallon taxes to gas sales. The combination adds more than 50 cents a gallon to the cost.

Sykuta also said prices in the region can be volatile because it relies on just two large pipelines. If the system is working well, Chicago’s mandated blend might cost 10 cents a gallon more than the standard version, he said.

But if there’s a disruption, the price differential could be 40 or 50 cents a gallon, Sykuta said.

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