Gas prices jump to $4.25 overnight

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Many motorists around central Indiana got their morning commute off to an expensive start Tuesday.

Gas prices jumped to $4.25 a gallon at many stations around the region. It represents a jump of more than 30 cents from what most stations were charging Monday night.

The jump is putting pressure on family budgets. The American Automobile Association reports the higher prices are a result of refinery maintenance and other production issues in the Midwest.

Many Hoosiers are upset about the pain at the pump.

"I just don't understand why the gas prices are going up so much, so fast. Almost like they're gouging at the pumps. It's been ridiculously high," said Frank Taylor.

"I think it's price gouging, myself. I think the government ought to step in and do something about it," said Gary Burdine.

The hike caused the average price of gas in Indiana to soar from $3.96 to $4.12 a gallon Wednesday. That is almost 50 cents higher than the national average.

Wednesday afternoon, the shock at the pump was still the same.

"That's insane," said Tom Brown.

The once ridiculous $3.89 a gallon is suddenly a deal worth a detour.

"Swerved over and drove in," laughed Kim Ott.

Laughter is the only relief from gas prices that suddenly jumped about 35 cents a gallon in just a few hours.

"I'm angry because prices are high. I don't know who to blame," said Gustavo Balez.

Purdue University economist Wally Tyner tells the Associated Press he's never seen such a large price gap. He blames the surge in gas prices in Indiana and other Midwestern states on "a perfect storm of refinery outages."

He says a fire at an oil refinery in Detroit and an ongoing upgrade of BP's Whiting refinery in northwestern Indiana are fueling much of the increase. But Tyner says a refinery in Joliet, Ill., is also undergoing maintenance, further shrinking regional gas supplies.

The website said Indiana's average price of a gallon of unleaded regular gas was nearly $4.12 Wednesday afternoon, compared with the national average of nearly $3.64 a gallon.

"That four-dollar threshold makes you feel like you are being strangled," said Violet Mitchell.

At home in Michigan, the Frodmya family filled up for a dollar less per gallon before they left for vacation.

"There goes all my vacation money," said Frodmya.

Fearing even higher prices, Ott poured her last 20 bucks into her gas tank.

"We can't afford to get medications. We can't afford health care. We can't afford so many other things, because all of our money we are trying to make on a daily basis is spent getting back and forth to work," she said.

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