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Gas prices inching up

UNDATED (WXPR) -- Gas prices are inching up again. Corn is part of the problem, but there’s another reason.

A petroleum analyst for the website gasbuddy-dot-com says gas refiners are still in the process of shifting over to summer blend gasolines so states can meet federal air quality rules.

Greg Laskoski says using a baseball analogy, the refiners are in the "eighth inning". He says once completed, prices should level off, but a more likely cause in the recent spike was a more homegrown reason...a spike in ethanol prices. The popular lower grades of gas have ethanol, or corn alcohol, mixed in. Laskoski didn't know the exact cause, but speculated it had something to do with transportation.  "Middle of the country, that is typically where we find the lowest priced ethanol, but the farther that has to travel, the greater the cost becomes."

He says the some Midwest states have some of the nation's highest prices.  "They are seeing more aggressive price increases than what we are seeing in the rest of the country. Right now the highest state average prices are in Hawaii, California, Illinois, Alaska and Michigan."

In Wisconsin the average price is at $3.63 per gallon. The average price of gas in Stevens Point is $3.58. Wisconsin Rapids is averaging $3.64. It’s $3.63 in Marshfield, and anywhere from $3.63 to $3.69 in the Wausau metro. In Rhinelander, most stations were at $3.73, Minocqua and Eagle River are averaging $3.74 and $3.56 in Antigo.

Michigan's average price is $3.78 per gallon.