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Could the drought affect gas prices?

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Could the drought that continues to plague corn farmers mean higher prices at the gas pump?

If you take a close look at the pumps when you’re fueling up you might notice that your gasoline contains ethanol.  Ethanol is made from corn so some people were wondering if a bad corn crop could affect prices in the future as they fueled up at the 7/11 on Douglas Road.

"Well that's what they say, prices will go up in all commodities,” described Les Niedbalski as he fueled his truck.  “I think it's always passed on to the consumer without a doubt."

ABC57 decided to contact the experts at GasBuddy.com to see what, if any, effect a bad yield for corn farmers could mean for gas prices.

"Certainly it's something to watch, in the Midwest especially," explained Gregg Laskoski, a Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy.  "In most instances people are getting 10-percent or less when they fill up the tank, that's about the volume, ethanol is 10-percent or less, it's not terribly significant."

The experts said at most a bad corn crop could raise prices by 3 or 4-cents.  But, that will be in addition to any spikes caused by other factors.

"Unfortunately the Great Lakes Region is known for the price volatility," Laskoski explained.  “We still have to keep our eyes on the major geopolitical issues that are having an impact right now.”

Laskoski said the usual suspects, tension in the Middle East and domestic refinery issues are more likely to cause big spikes in the future.  Right now, he explained, the experts at GasBuddy are waiting to see what the final impact of the drought on corn futures will be before they can say precisely how much problems with ethanol supply could affect prices.

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