Tom Collins Sr.

Tom Collins Sr., Luke Oil chief executive officer

The energy sector did well in 2016 because of an abundant supply of crude oil and refined products across the U.S. supply chain, Luke Oil Chief Executive Officer Tom Collins said.

“The first and second quarter of 2017 should show consumers stable gas prices comparable to third and fourth quarter 2016 barring any major supply disruptions,” he said.

The average price of gasoline in the Gary metro area was $2.26 per gallon in early March. And it was trending down.

“The new administration's attitude toward opening up Keystone and other pipelines as well as reexamining environmental restrictions may tend to keep downward pressure on prices in 2017,” Collins said.

Locally, stations within a half mile of the Illinois border might be affected by a proposed 10 cent per gallon hike in Indiana's gasoline tax that now sits in front of the General Assembly.

“These sites currently generate sales to many Illinois customers that will find other cheaper options for their fuel purchases,” Collins said. “We anticipate a possible projected loss of business as high as 60 percent for those numerous Indiana fuel sites along the Illinois border.”

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.