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Bay Area Drivers Take Another Hit at the Pump

Prices spike by 30 cents at gas stations almost overnight. Is it bothering you enough to change your traveling habits?

Driving by gas stations in Petaluma looking for a cheap price? That's going to be harder to find this week after gas prices spiked by as much as 30 cents at some stations after a fire forced the shutdown of an Exxon refinery in Torrance on Monday.

The refinery, which produces 150,000 barrels of gas a day during regular production, lost power Monday and was forced to shut down a pipeline that supplies crude oil to Bay Area refineries.

"Whenever there's the perception of less of a supply of gas, prices go up," said Cynthia Harris of AAA.

Adding to pain at the pump, according to Harris, is the fact that the Chevron refinery in Richmond is not yet back at full speed after a fire in August. A report by Bloomberg said the refinery is expecting to continue repairs this week.

Harris expects that the dramatic increase in gas prices will be temporary and they should settle down within the next week or two. In the meantime, expect similar or even higher prices this weekend.

On the news of the Torrance refinery shutdown, wholesale gas prices jumped 30 cents overnight. Prices for crude oil, however, are hovering just below $90, a drop from earlier this year.

"Gas is cheaper to produce and purchase normally at this time of year. We're getting into our winter mix," Harris said. "It's a little unusual to pay so much. We tend to pay less for gas at this time of year. But in the end, it's the traders who determine the price."

Is the spike in prices bothering you enough to change your traveling habits? Let us know with a comment below.


Active Thinker October 05, 2012 at 08:21 PM
What a scam. Buy a hybrid or ride transit...stop being sheep...look at Europe...trains and buses...we have them here but people are so used to their cars...wake up everyone!
Chris October 06, 2012 at 07:43 AM
Then ride a train and drive your Prius in Europe. Stop telling me what to do. We are not Europe and do not want to be like Europe.
Barry Kruse October 07, 2012 at 09:41 PM
I changed my driving habits decades ago, just as I changed my electricity consumption and water usage habits decades ago. Price changes don't affect my driving or my thermostat because I have no place left to cut. Anyway, on an inflation-adjusted basis, gas prices aren't significantly different from what they used to be, and these spikes in prices have turned out to be really temporary.

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