U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced legislation Thursday to help prevent spikes in gas prices.
After the closure of several oil refineries in the Midwest region for maintenance over the last few weeks, gas prices have surged to over $4 a gallon in Minnesota.
The senator’s legislation would require refineries to report their maintenance schedule to the Department of Energy to prevent simultaneous closures and help avert future shortages.
Last week, Klobuchar sent a letter to the Department of Energy urging the Department to thoroughly examine the timing of maintenance operations at the refineries.The legislation would require refineries to report to the Department of Energy their schedule for maintenance that would bring any refineries off line.
The bill would also require refineries to immediately tell the Department when they are experiencing unplanned outages.
Finally, the bill asks the Secretary of Energy to look at the potential for additional fuel storage in the region to address the low storage capacity that makes the region especially vulnerable to shortages.
In addition to her letter to the Department of Energy, Klobuchar has also spoken to the oil companies that own the closed refineries and has urged them to reopen the refineries as soon as possible and help bolster fuel supplies to provide relief to Minnesota consumers.