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Gas prices warm to winter blend

Chicago-aregas prices have been dropping they may continue falling inThanksgiving holidays if no major world unrest or service disruptioccurs. |

Chicago-area gas prices have been dropping and they may continue falling into the Thanksgiving holidays, if no major world unrest or service disruption occurs. | Sun-Times file

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Updated: November 18, 2012 6:52AM



Chicago-area gas prices have been dropping and they may continue falling into the Thanksgiving holidays, if no major world unrest or service disruption occurs.

Tuesday’s price dropped 36 cents from a month ago, to $3.92, according to AAA. That’s down 12.3 cents from a week ago.

Why? Because refiners are pumping out winter blends of gasoline, which are more profitable, readily available and easier to produce than the more strictly regulated summer blends, one expert said.

“The refiners are spitting this stuff out like pancakes,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst for Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Things could change if the winter turns into a bone chiller or if unrest continues in Iran, Syria and Turkey, Flynn said.

Another hurt could come if Congress drives off of the fiscal cliff in January, prompting spending cuts and tax increases large enough to throw the economy back into recession, Flynn said.

An increase in gas prices last month pushed up consumer prices in the Chicago area a slight 0.3 percent from August, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Year-over year, prices rose 1.6 percent locally.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, inflation was tame with prices rising only 0.2 percent from August, and 1.8 percent from a year ago.

Food prices edged down 0.2 percent from August. Grocery prices, the so-called food-at-home category, slid 0.4 percent, while the cost of eating out increased 0.2 percent. Grocery prices fell for spices, seasonings, condiments and sauces, ice cream and related products, candy and chewing gum. Prices rose for snacks and carbonated drinks. Year-over-year food prices rose 1 percent.



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