|
Gridley Herald - Gridley, CA
  • Sudden pain at the pump

  • Wallets are about to become thinner and checking accounts lighter with a overnight surge in gas prices throughout the state.Ridgecrest’s gas stations haven’t escaped unscathed as gas station prices soared.Friday gas prices hit an average of $4.59 per gallon for regular gasoline throughout the city.Stat...
    • email print
  • Wallets are about to become thinner and checking accounts lighter with a overnight surge in gas prices throughout the state.
    Ridgecrest’s gas stations haven’t escaped unscathed as gas station prices soared.
    Friday gas prices hit an average of $4.59 per gallon for regular gasoline throughout the city.
    Statewide, the price hovered around $4.55 a gallon on Friday.
    Prices at both local Chevron stores shot passed the state average at $4.89 a gallon, while all three Fastrip fueling stations advertised $4.39 a gallon. USA Gasoline prices on College Heights Boulevard hit $4.43 a gallon.
    Some stores in Southern California have closed down operations after running out of gas.
    Vice Mayor Jerry Taylor said it was a disheartening sight.
    “It’s another drain on the local economy,” Taylor said.
    Taylor regularly posts gas price updates to GasBuddy.com using a smartphone application.
    “Doing some basic math, when you’re looking at a 50 cent increase, that becomes $20-30 more with a car that has decent gas milage,” Taylor said.
    It would be worse for someone who drove gas-guzzles such as some SUVs and pick-up trucks.
    People might be forced to change some spending habits to save money for gas.
    Gregg Laskoski, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, said this increase was a first.
    “We have never seen prices so quickly in such a short amount of time,” Laskoski said Friday.
    Laskoski said it has a lot to do with recent problems, some stretching back to August.
    Chevron’s Richmond barrels refinery – capable of churning out 240,000 barrels a day – is still operating at reduced capacity for an unspecified period of time since a fire damaged on Aug. 6.
    The Richmond facility is one the largest refining facilities in California.
    Exxon Mobil’s Torrance refinery lost power Monday but announced normal service had resumed at the Torrance Plant on Friday. That facility produces approximately 150,000 barrels of gasoline per day.
    On top of that, a pair of Phillip 76 refineries recently went into scheduled maintenance mode, shutting down a majority of operations there.
    On top of everything, Chevron’s Kettleman-Los Medanos in Northern California had to be shut down due to elevated levels of organic chloride detected in the oil flowing through the line.
    California strictly regulates how gas is refined. Refineries must produce a higher octane blend to meet state air quality guidelines.
    Because of this, the state cannot import gas from other states. This cannot be changed short of an act from the state legislature.
    “Collectively, all of these things are a nightmare,” Laskoski said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Lakoski said that if nothing improves, gas prices might peak somewhere between $4.70-4.85 a gallon.
    Laskoski expects that this may only be a short-term trend.
    “I’m cautious optimistic that the Exxon Mobil refinery might be back online on schedule,” Laskoski said.
    In the mean time, prices will likely continue due to tighter price lines.
    “There is no quick fix for this,” Laskoski said. “All people can do is try to be patient.”
      • calendar