Volatility of gasoline prices

(As much as I want to write this as a Pit thread, I’ll try to stick to seeking a factual answer.)

I was on my way home from work last night with a nearly empty tank, but decided not to fill up because I just wanted to get home. I told myself I’d do it today. I passed several of the gas stations on the way to my house, and they all had regular gas at $1.47 a gallon.

So today, I am coming home, and the same gas stations now have $1.73 as the price of regular. Nevermind the fact that I fill up with premium, so I’m looking at $1.93 to fill up. That’s a 26-cent jump in less than 24 hours!

I’ve heard it said that gas prices in the Midwest are more volatile than other areas of the country. (I live in Dayton, OH) But I don’t understand the reason why this would be true. The price of the gas isn’t what gets me, since I filled up for about $1.90 a couple weeks ago, and I’m rather used to it. It’s the fact that it chages so much from day to day; it’s always a huge gamble. Today’s event wasn’t unique. 20-cent swings, up or down, in one day are the norm around here.

When I’ve lived other places, I could always have a sense for what the price of gas was within a few cents. If it changed over the course of several days, it was only a couple pennies. But as soon as I moved here, I noticed that there was no way of maintaining a sense of the current price, because yesterday’s price has nothing to do with today’s price.

So…why? And why this region worse than anywhere else?

I can’t answer this completely,since I’m not aware of the Ohio supply lines,but here in Las Vegas everytime I’ve seen these one day to week 10c spikes I read an article about supply lines breaking/refineries switching production capabilities (we have oxygenated gas from Oct-thru about March,IIRC.)

The latest story I read after last weeks-10 days gradual ascension to about 1.75 from 1.60 (unleaded) was because oil stocks were being diverted to making fuel oil for the north/east because of abt.month long frigid conditions there.

I’m guessing the Ohio stories are similar.I’m also guessing there’s a lot more to it than that,and the public is being stonewalled.