The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

February 7, 2013

Gasoline prices surge for third straight winter

Here we go again. For the third straight winter, retail gasoline prices have accelerated.

The national average price of self-serve regular is over $3.54 a gallon, according to AAA. It's up 15 cents in a week and 25 cents in a month.

In case you've forgotten, the same thing happened in early 2011. At the time, the increase was attributed to worries in the market that political instability in Libya would lead to supply shortages.

In 2012, when prices shot up again, it was blamed on tensions with Iran over its nuclear program. The worry was that any kind of Persian Gulf dust-up would interrupt oil supplies.

No Middle East turmoil

This year, there's a shortage of oil-producing Middle East tensions but that has not prevented retail gasoline prices from making their annual February surge. So what's to blame for this year's pain at the pump?

According to a consensus among industry analysts, this year's price rise is mostly to be blamed on U.S. refineries shutting down for scheduled maintenance. In other words, a completely foreseeable and, perhaps, controllable set of circumstances has caused the market to spike.

Other reasons that have been given for the sudden increase in price is optimism about economic recovery, even though the economy declined in the fourth quarter. Also, the fact that refineries, once they are operating again, will be switching over to summer-blends, which are more expensive.

However, consumers with long memories will recall that these annual occurrences rarely seemed to result in the big price increases we have seen over the last three winters.

Don't blame the service stations

It's useful for consumers to also remember that their local service station operator is not to blame for the price at the pump. The station buys the fuel from a wholesale distributor, who obtains the product on the open market. Beginning last month, that market has been very active.

Text Only
Top News
  • Blagojevich campaign account donates final dollars

    A federal campaign account for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is now empty, two years into the Chicago Democrat's prison term.

    The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports Friends of Rod Blagojevich donated $709.85 to a Serbian Orthodox Church monastery earlier this month.

    April 18, 2014

  • GOP lawmaker objects to 9-0 vote for Obama library

    A Republican lawmaker is protesting after an Illinois House committee recorded a 9-0 vote to commit $100 million for President Barack Obama's library and museum, even though the committee's four GOP members weren't there.

    Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein says he didn't expect a vote during Thursday's hearing. He told WBEZ radio and the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald he would've voted no.

    Sullivan says "the legacy of the Obama presidential library shouldn't be kicked off in a cloud of controversy."

    April 18, 2014

  • Prosecutor says 6 felon voting cases will proceed

    A prosecutor pursuing several cases against felons charged with voting illegally says an Iowa Supreme Court ruling shouldn't impact them.Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney Linda Fangman said Thursday the prosecutions will "proceed as is," despite Tuesday's ruling suggesting that not all felons lose their voting rights. She's handling felony election misconduct cases against six offenders accused of voting in the 2012 election even though they lost their rights. A seventh may plead guilty Monday.

    April 18, 2014

  • Iowa's unemployment rate climbs to 4.5 percent

    Iowa's unemployment rate climbed to 4.5 percent in March as more people entered the labor force.

    Iowa Workforce Development announced Friday the rate was up from 4.4 percent in February. It compared to a 4.8 percent unemployment rate in March 2013.

    April 18, 2014

  • Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

    A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets, where broken windows and debris fell, but there were no early reports of major damage or casualties.

    The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday.

    April 18, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor: Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract

    Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton:
    The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled “‘Fair offer’ differences” in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate statements regarding our negotiated contract proposal with the city. These incorrect statements could impact the use of your city funds negatively and unduly influence our elected representatives. So, we would like to address these points, as follows:

    April 18, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 18, 2014

  • World Book Night A big love for books CLINTON -- Sharing a love for books is something members of the Clinton Public Library have always promoted and embraced. On Wednesday, they will join the rest of the world in spreading that love throughout communities. World Book Night, which conve

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taylorville couple wins $20M lotto jackpot

    A Taylorville couple has celebrated winning a more than $20 million Illinois Lottery drawing.

    Steve and Wilma Durbin were presented with their winning check Thursday afternoon at a grocery store in the central Illinois city where they purchased the ticket. The couple took a lump sum payment of $8.1 million after taxes.

    The Taylorville Breeze-Courier reports the Durbins hit the jackpot in the April 10 Illinois Lotto drawing. That was just two weeks after they were married.

    April 17, 2014

  • Branstad signs school radon bill into law

    The Iowa Department of Education must gather information from schools about whether they are testing for radon gas under a bill Gov. Terry Branstad has signed into law.

    Branstad signed the bill Thursday to require school districts to tell the department about radon testing by the end of this year. The department must then report to the Legislature by January.

    April 17, 2014

AP Video