Californians hit with unprecedented g...

Californians hit with unprecedented gasoline price jump

Posted in the Columbus Forum

Oliver

Springboro, OH

#1 Oct 5, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO/LOS ANGELES (Reuters)- Californians awoke on Friday to yet another unprecedented spike in the price of gasoline that brought the one-week increase in the Golden State to a whopping 36 cents a gallon.

Prices dropped, however, on the wholesale market, possibly signaling the end to a price spike that has blindsided the state's car-loving consumers.

"It's insane," said Matt Hurd, 35, as he filled up at a San Francisco gas station near the Bay Bridge. "Especially with this thing," Hurd, who works in real estate, added, motioning toward his white SUV. "It's going to cost triple digits to fill it up."

The average retail price of gasoline rose 17 cents to $4.486 on Friday morning. The average price was $4.315 on Thursday and $4.131 a week ago, according to AAA data.

"We're in brand new territory," said Marie Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the Auto Club of Southern California. "It always seems like just when you've seen everything and you can't be shocked anymore, you are shocked again."

The average price is just 12 cents below the highest recorded statewide price of $4.61, which was reached in June of 2008.

In recent weeks, California refineries have dropped production in anticipation of switching over to a "winter blend" of gasoline next month.

At the same time, a power outage at Exxon Mobil Corp's Torrance, California refinery on Monday and a shutdown of the crude distillation unit at Chevron Corp's Richmond, California refinery aggravated the tight supplies.

Phillips 66 also said a planned maintenance was underway at its 120,200 barrel-per-day (bpd) San Francisco-area Rodeo refinery.

Western U.S. refiner Tesoro Corp halted sales on Monday to retailers that do not carry its brand name, according to market sources. Tesoro declined to discuss its wholesale operations.

Finally, Chevron said a pipeline that carries crude oil from the state's Central Valley to refineries in the San Francisco Bay area has been closed since mid-September.

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