Outage at major Indiana oil refinery has slight impact on Wisconsin

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- An outage at a major oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana is threatening fuel supply in the Midwest.

An electrical fire caused the BP refinery to shut down last week. 

The facility is the largest in the Midwest and one of the top ten in the United States, according to GasBuddy.

"There's a lot of fuel at stake here, which is why this situation bares monitoring," Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy, said.

De Haan said the shut down hasn't caused a major spike in gas prices, yet. He said whether it will, depends on how long the facility stays closed.

"If this refinery can get online at some point by early or mid-week, we should be in an okay situation. Beyond that, it may start to get a little bit dicey," De Haan said.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing RVP waivers, allowing stations to start selling winter gasoline early.

"That will expand the pool of gasoline available. Essentially there are more and readily available components for winter gasoline than summer gasoline," De Haan said.

The Department of Transportation is also temporarily waiving trucking restrictions, in terms of hours for those hauling petroleum, in several states, including Wisconsin.

"This could still turn into something that eventually affects prices, but the more motorists remain calm, cool, and collected, the less impact it will have," De Haan said.

There's no indication of when the facility will reopen, as of Sunday afternoon.

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