Gas prices spike on Hurricane Ike fears

Prices for unleaded gasoline soared past $4 a gallon in Macon on Friday on fears that Hurricane Ike could cripple oil refining and drilling operations.

A gallon of unleaded gasoline was $4.49 at the Exxon stations on Spring Street and Tom Hill Sr. Boulevard at 2 p.m. Friday. That was the same price at a Chevron station on Riverside Drive.

But that wasn't the case everywhere. A gallon of unleaded gas was $3.69 at the BP station at Riverside and Pierce Avenue early Friday afternoon.

Exxon Mobil Corp., Valero Energy Corp., ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil Co. were among the companies halting operations at refineries on the Texas coast, primarily in the Houston, Texas, area.

Refineries along the upper Texas Gulf Coast account for about one-fifth of the nation’s refining capacity. Exxon Mobil’s refinery in Baytown, outside Houston, is the nation’s largest.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.