Ethanol blamed for 20 cent spike in gas prices

by: Jim Strickland Updated:

ATLANTA - A recent spike in the price of ethanol mixed into Georgia's gasoline supply is getting some blame for a 20 cent increase at the pump.
However, a leading energy expert from Georgia Tech told Channel 2's Jim Strickland the recent price increase on gas goes beyond ethanol.   
"It's a seasonal spike," said researcher Sam Shelton. "The price of gasoline always goes up in the spring, because they're switching over to a new blend to reduce the emissions in the summer."
Refining the less-polluting summer gas required in Georgia costs more.  Annual maintenance shutdowns at refineries fueling Georgia usually mean a temporary tighter supply. 
Shelton says a short-term spike in the price of ethanol due to a logistical shortage of rail cars to transport corn had only a marginal effect on prices here.
"Your gas didn't go up because of ethanol prices.  That's what some people are blaming it on, and that was a small element, but not the dominant element," he said,. "The predictions are they'll hit probably $3.70 or so, but you've got to remember we've had gas prices over $4, so everything's relative."

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