Unions avoid refineries strike with tentative deal

January 31, 2012 7:05:10 PM PST
In the last few hours, the United Steelworkers Union and Shell Oil have announced a tentative deal, meaning there will be no strike at refineries like the Shell refinery in Pasadena.

There was a midnight deadline to reach a new deal or risk a strike, which would have accelerated already rising gas prices.

Houston's average already had gone up another three cents, just within 24 hours and up five cents just since Sunday.

The price of gasoline has gone up 25 cents a gallon over the last two weeks. A number of factors are adding to the spike. Two East Coast refineries have closed down permanently and a third is about to close in St. Croix, which means less gasoline production. There's ongoing tension with Iran and the Straits of Hormuz.

But the threat of a strike also added to the uptick at the pumps.

"It's fair to say that you have an accumulation of factors in the market that point toward higher gasoline prices, at least for a while," explained Bob Tippee with the Oil and Gas Journal. "A strike would certainly sort of tip the balance."

Some of that had already been factored in with the price of gasoline now.