Gasoline prices are on the rise and headed to a record in North Dakota.
The average price of gas in the state could reach $4.15 per gallon in the coming days, breaking the July 2008 record of $4.08, according to North Dakota AAA spokesman Gene LaDoucer.
Several large refineries that feed the region are down for maintenance or upgrades, and a recent fire at a refinery in Minnesota also has contributed to the supply problems, he said.
"There's never a good time for gas to be above $4, but especially not around Memorial Day," LaDoucer said. "A lot of families are looking to get out of town, but some of them may need to alter their plans."
A gallon of regular unleaded gas already was at $4.24 per gallon at some gas stations in the Bismarck-Mandan area on Friday, shattering the city's record of $4.07 per gallon set five years ago. Some gas stations in Jamestown and Fargo have even run out of fuel, according to North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association President Mike Rud.
LaDoucer said the supply problems should be short term.
"When one part of the country has a problem with supply, some of the slack can be picked up by other regions," he said. "At some point, enough supply should make its way into the market to stop the bleeding."
When the refineries are back up and running, prices could fall 30-50 cents per gallon as quickly as they rose, according to LaDoucer. However, that isn't likely to happen before Memorial Day.
"A lot of motorists, myself included, are looking forward to prices getting back down to a more normal rate," he said.
LaRae Stark is one of them.
"It's horrible. I hate it. I want it back to when I was a kid, when it was like 89 cents a gallon," Stark said Thursday in Bismarck.
Other drivers are taking the increase in stride.
"You've got to have gas," said Jon Hinseth in Bismarck. "What are you going to do?"