Gas prices in Chicago buck national trend

February 20, 2012 3:04:20 PM PST
The Chicago area, which usually leads the nation's highest gas prices, is getting a break at the pump.

Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for, says Chicago's apparent discounted gas prices are partly due to local refineries clearing out the winter blend gas to make room for cleaner-burning summer blend.

"Prices across Chicago continue to buck the national trend and have gone down in the last week," said DeHaan. "The national average has gone up 5 cents last week and Chicago dropped about 9 cents a gallon last week."

"As we move towards warmer weather, they will have to liquidate that winter gas as we start using a cleaner burning reformulated gasoline, and we essentially can think of that as new merchandise," DeHaan continued. "When the new merchandise hits the shelves it will be much more expensive than the existing gasoline that was on the clearance sale."

Gas prices traditionally go up around May. The break the Chicago area is getting now may not hold for your summer road trip.

"Our prices really start to rise come that time of year," said Beth Mosher, AAA. "Nationally, we're already way, way higher than we are we have been for this time of the year."

Residents fueling up over the holiday weekend may have been pleasantly surprised.

"It's nice to see a break, yes, and it is better now," said Max Turcios.