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Gas prices spike amid refinery fire

POSTED August 14, 2012 8:38 p.m.

People might be reconsidering any end of summer get-a-ways and giving new thought to carpooling, as the price of gas climbs upward.

According to the latest report from AAA Northern California, which tracks gas prices as a service to consumers, every metro area in Northern California saw a double-digit jump in its average price over the past month of at least 28 cents.

In Stanislaus County the average gas price is $3.99 a gallon, which is a 21 cent increase from the week prior, according to the website GasBuddy.com.

A month ago the average gas price in the county was $3.61. A year ago a gallon of gas averaged $3.65 in the county.

Statewide, the average price of gas is at $4.08 a gallon, which is 40 cents higher than the national average of $3.68 a gallon.

California has the second highest state average price for regular, unleaded gasoline. Hawaii is first at $4.17.

One reason gas prices are climbing rapidly is the recent oil refinery fire at a Chevron facility in Richmond. The fire broke out Aug. 6 and was contained to one unit, which is still nonoperational at this date, Chevron reported. Three employees received first aid for minor injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Richmond refinery processes approximately 240,000 barrels of crude oil a day, comprising about 15 percent of California’s gasoline supply. California’s clean-air regulations limit the state from obtaining gasoline from a good part of the nation’s refineries.

“The recent fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond has created a short-term spike in gas prices across many parts of the Pacific Northwest and Nevada,” said AAA Northern California spokesperson Cynthia Harris. “It still remains to be seen how long the impact of the fire will be felt. Meanwhile, across the United States, positive economic news has been putting upward pressure on oil prices.”

Crude oil is being reported at $93.35 a barrel, according to GasBuddy.com

In Turlock the lowest price for gas was reported by GasBuddy.com at the Costco gas station on Tegner Road at $3.83 a gallon.

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