Paying more to fill up: What’s causing those gas prices to jump?

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CLEVELAND- Trying to figure out why gas prices jump and vary from place to place is like playing a game of Jenga.

But, with gas prices, if one piece of the puzzle is removed, things go up instead of fall down.

“It really jumped quickly and my first question was: What's going on now?" Monique Potts said as she filled up her car at an east side gas station.

Here's what happened:  Delays in refinery maintenance caused by Hurricane Harvey mean less oil being turned into gas.

Also, a leak in a major pipeline that carries gas and other fuels to the Great Lakes region has reduced the amount of fuel available to retailers.

So, there is good news and bad news.

“That leak has been repaired and has reopened. That is good news, but a back drop of this is gasoline inventories in the Midwest are at two-year lows," analyst, Patrick Dehaan, said.

And with less gas available, the wholesale price of all grades of fuel has jumped 32 cents in a month, about 20 cents this week, and two cents since Wednesday.

For drivers, this means shopping for gas is like shopping for any other item: Grab it when you see it.

A Sunoco at 55th and Payne is 10 cents lower than just about everyone else.

“Sometimes close to my house is cheapest and sometimes close to work is cheapest and this is the cheapest one in town," Tim Kilko of Eastlake said.

“I go from one side of town to downtown to the other side and, yes, I know the best stations to stop at," Potts said.

Hopefully, that shopping around won't have to go on too much longer.

Available fuel to the Great Lakes should start to get back to normal levels over the next few weeks so prices should start to go down.

But in a trickle, not by the gallon.

“Relief may only come at pennies at a time, simply because stations took three to four days to pass along the higher price, so for three to four days they were losing money. So now, on the way down they'll be slow to pass along the lower price," Dehaan said.

Dehaan says things should actually start getting closer to last month's prices around Thanksgiving. Unless there is something else that interrupts supplies.

He says contrary to popular belief, gas prices usually don't go up much around the holiday because, on the whole, fewer people are actually out driving.

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