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Dickinson resident Jim Barksdale fills up Wednesday at the Dakota West Oil Inc Mobil station in Dickinson. Barksdale is one of many locals scratching their heads over high gas prices.

Crude oil prices down; Dickinson gas prices up

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Crude oil prices down; Dickinson gas prices up
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Crude oil prices might be down, but the price of gas in western North Dakota keeps inching in the opposite direction.

The price for a barrel of light crude oil dropped $1.39 Wednesday to finish the market day at $89.98, continuing a recent slide. The price decline, however, has not provided relief at the gas pump.


The price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Dickinson settled between $3.99 and $4.04 mid-week. The move past $4 per gallon had at least one Dickinson resident feeling the effects of sticker-shock Wednesday.

"I think we're being gouged," said Jim Barksdale while filling his car at the West Dakota Oil Inc. Mobil station on East Villard Street. "The price of gas is outrageous. I have a Dodge 3500 truck that I'm going to put on the market because of the diesel prices."

Some gas stations in Dickinson were selling diesel Wednesday for as high as $4.29 per gallon.

"I have a place in Montana too, and the gas prices over there are usually about 30 cents lower," Barksdale said. "Here we are in the Bakken and we're paying that much for a gallon of gas? It doesn't add up. I'd like to know why gas prices are so much lower in other places."

AAA North Dakota spokesman Gene LaDoucer said motorists in western North Dakota can expect a drop in gas prices, but it may not come soon.

"Usually prices in North Dakota, especially western North Dakota, lag behind when prices begin to fall at the pump," LaDoucer said. "North Dakota is the end of the line for a lot of the main pipelines that supply its gasoline. We haven't seen prices drop lately, but I would think we will see some changes by sometime in October."

The price for regular unleaded at one station in Fargo was $3.39 Wednesday, according to The website's map of gas prices nationwide showed western North Dakota with prices that were only topped by some areas of the West Coast, which typically is home to the highest gas prices in the U.S.

"Another aspect is the great demand for fuel in western North Dakota," LaDoucer said. "It's a growing region and it doesn't currently have the number of gas stations that it probably needs. Supply has also generally been tight lately in the Midwest and there are a number of factors for that. There is always uncertainty, but we could see a drop at the pump of as much as 30 cents in the coming weeks. We just don't know when that might happen."

LaDoucer added that other events such as Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf of Mexico, a recent refinery explosion near Chicago and this week's refinery explosion in New Brunswick, Canada, have likely caused gas prices to either rise or stand pat at a time of year when they usually recede.

Gasoline futures jumped nearly 4 percent Wednesday, a reaction to the recent disturbances in the supply chain, according to many experts.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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