Like The Herald Business Journal on Facebook!
The Herald of Everett, Washington
Heraldnet.com

The top local business stories in your email

Contact Us:

Josh O'Connor
Publisher
Phone: 425-339-3007
joconnor@heraldnet.com

Jody Knoblich
General Sales Manager
Phone: 425-339-3445
Fax: 425-339-3049
jknoblich@heraldnet.com

Jim Davis
Editor
Phone: 425-339-3097
jdavis@heraldnet.com

Site address:
1800 41st Street, S-300,
Everett, WA 98203

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 930
Everett, WA 98206

HBJ RSS feeds

West Coast spike in gas prices tied to refineries

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY  |  COMMENTS
By Steven Dubois
Associated Press
Published:
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Motorists across most of the country have been getting a break on the price of gas, but not on the West Coast.
The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Oregon was $4.17 Monday, up 16 cents from last week. The average was $4.20 in Washington state and $4.35 in California. Both of those states also had double-digit increases.
Meanwhile, the national average price dropped 5 cents to $3.73.
"The West Coast is zigging while the rest of the country is zagging," said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.
A shortage of gasoline tied to issues at the region's refineries has caused prices to spike in the wholesale market, analysts said.
Gasoline supplies in California are down more than 20 percent from a year ago. West Coast gasoline stocks haven't been this low in the month of May since May 1992, according to the Department of Energy.
"That's a long time, especially when you consider how many vehicles have been added to the fleet," Kloza said.
Gas prices increased sharply across the U.S. in recent months because of a run-up in the cost of crude oil. But the price of a barrel has slid to less than $95, providing a bit of relief to drivers in most places.
The West Coast switches to a more expensive fuel blend in summer to fight pollution, but analysts blame the current price spike on the failed restart of a BP refinery in Blaine, Wash., and maintenance work at several California refineries.
The BP refinery, the third-largest on the West Coast, produces 20 percent of Washington's gasoline needs but has been shut down since a February fire. The company planned to restart last week, but that has been pushed back because of an undisclosed problem.
Alison apRoberts, a California Energy Commission spokeswoman, said the decision to suspend the restart likely led BP and others to buy gasoline on the wholesale market to cover their contractual obligations.
Meanwhile, five of California's 12 refineries -- three in the San Francisco Bay Area and two in Southern California -- temporarily reduced production because of planned maintenance.
Kloza and other analysts expect the surge in prices to be short-lived as refineries return to typical production.
"This isn't the new normal, and it's not the arrival of those apocalyptic predictions of $5 to $6 gasoline," he said.
Story tags » Energy & Resources

MORE HBJ HEADLINES

CALENDAR

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus