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Local gas prices soar over $5 per gallon
gas prices
Motorists paid $5.49 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at the Chevron station on the corner of Lander and Glenwood avenues on Friday (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal)

The shock waves from the Russian invasion of the Ukraine have sent gas prices to record highs in Turlock.

Prices have breached the $5 per gallon mark in a big way reaching a high of $5.49 Friday at the Chevron station at Lander and Glenwood avenues.

All the Chevrons in Turlock posted prices above $5 on Friday. The ARCO on Lander Avenue had the cheapest gas price in town on Friday at $4.39 a gallon, with most stations in Turlock ranging in price from $4.75 to $4.95 a gallon.

The average gas price in California on Wednesday was $4.87 a gallon while nationally it was at $3.61 a gallon. The national average is up 26 percent since February and $1 in the past year.

The surge in price pumps couldn’t have come at a worse time for California motorists. March is when the state’s refineries start switching over to a summer blend of reformulated gas that produces less emissions. Not only is “summer” gas more expensive to refine but the switch often involves a refinery going off line for a day or so. Typically, motorists will see as much as a dime jump in prices.

Experts are anticipating around a $1 a gallon boost in gas prices as the result on the war in the Ukraine.

That means gas at some urban locations could shoot up as high as $6 a gallon in the coming weeks.

The United States is the world’s largest oil producer but it still imports oil from Russia. In 2021 the United States imported 209,000 barrels of crude oil a day or 3 percent of the nation’s consumption.

Part of the reason why prices in the United States are being hit hard — especially in California — has to do with the supply line for crude oil to refineries.

It is especially stark in California where in 2020 — based on California Energy Commission data — 47.54 percent of the crude oil used in the state came from foreign sources, 34.9 percent from California oil fields, and 17.6 percent from Alaska.

California is the seventh largest oil producing state in the country at 144 million barrels in 2020 after Texas, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado and Alaska in that order.

There are 10 refineries in California that produce gasoline for vehicles. The state’s air quality rules make it less expensive to refine cleaner burning light crude that typically comes from areas such as the Middle East.

The increase in gas prices will create a windfall for cities, counties and the states.

The $1 increase at Chevron means drivers are paying 8.25 cents more in sales tax.

— Kristina Hacker contributed to this report.