Patrick DeHaan is a petroleum analyst with the website gasbuddy.com. He says the average price has gone up ten-cents-per-gallon since midnight Thursday and could go up another fifty cents, "We may not get back down to these prices -I should say, pre-refining issue prices or pre gasmaggedon prices for as much as one or longer months."
California's average price has passed $4.50/gallon. DeHaan says our prices were already higher because of the Chevron fire in Richmond, "Now due to the heat, Exxon Mobile's facility in Torrence, California has suffered power interruptions as well as Phillips 66 announcing two plants would undergo maintenance and a crude oil pipeline that has been shut running from Southern to Northern California."
In the last week-and-a-half, three refineries stopped producing gasoline because of heat, power or maintenance problems. A crude oil pipeline in the state was also shut down.
Inventories of gas are nine percent below what they were last year and because California has special emissions requirements, we can't just import gasoline from neighboring states.
DeHaan says gas station owners have little choice but to raise prices as what they pay catches up with wholesale prices.
According to the California Board of Equalization, gas consumption is on the rise. In the second quarter of 2012, we used 300 million more gallons compared to a year ago. Gas consumption had been on the decline for six consecutive years.