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A week ago, Santa Rosa’s average price for regular gasoline was $4.15 a gallon,  AAA said. On Monday, it was $4.195. Yesterday, it was $4.25. What’s going on?

Refinery problems and market jitters are to blame, says Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analysts with gasbuddy.com.

And prices may keep climbing for at least a couple of weeks, he warns.

Bloomberg News Service reported that Exxon Mobile’s 150,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Torrance near Los Angeles lost power on Monday; Chevron’s Richmond refinery is still operating below capacity because of an Aug. 6 fire; Phillps 66 is doing maintenance at refineries in Rodeo in the East Bay and in Arroyo Grande; and a Chevron oil pipeline from Kern County to Bay Area refineries was shut after high levels of organic chloride were detected in the oil.

All that cut gasoline production in California, and “the market essentially panicked,” DeHaan said, noting that when supply suddenly drops, prices tend to jump.

That panic sent wholesale gas prices soaring $1 a gallon over the last eight days in California, DeHaan said, noting he’s never seen it spike so high so quickly.

Retail gas prices have risen only 15 to 20 cents in the same time, DeHaan said, and unless wholesale prices starting dropping fast, motorists should brace themselves for even higher price jumps at the pump.

He said his “guess” is that prices will climb for at least two weeks before declining, barring further production problems.

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Comments

34 Comments

  1. Lisa

    Could big oil be spiking prices to try and help Romney?

    October 3rd, 2012 12:17 pm

  2. Steve

    So the “Producers” have manufactured another reason for scarcity AND bigger profits. How convenient for them.

    October 3rd, 2012 12:25 pm

  3. Marc

    Someone is Making a LOT of money on these Games of “market Jitters” Nothing else has changed. And when the oil refineries make any mistake they all profit more and NOT ONE of them loses any real money.

    October 3rd, 2012 12:26 pm

  4. Andrew Smith

    On Monday I filled up at the ARCO station on 4th and Brookwood. 89 gas was $4.09.9 and the Chevron station on Highway 12 was $421.9.

    Yesterday the Chevron went up to $427.9 and this morning it was $445.9.

    Glad I filled up on Monday.

    October 3rd, 2012 12:36 pm

  5. scot

    Wait until cap and trade hits in 2013. Fear the environmentalist. Green is the new Red.

    October 3rd, 2012 12:38 pm

  6. Sam

    “the market essentially panicked”? Can we be a little more vague as to how prices are established for goods?

    October 3rd, 2012 12:41 pm

  7. Patrick

    Refinery problems, jittery market, blah, blah, blah. All lies.

    October 3rd, 2012 12:48 pm

  8. pj

    As an economist this makes sense. A cut in production across the state lowers the supply temporarily. This is just California. I found the Romney comment very funny though

    October 3rd, 2012 12:48 pm

  9. Tom Popenuck

    Exchange the word “gouged” for “panic”.

    October 3rd, 2012 12:51 pm

  10. JRB

    Enron scandal all over again! Same game, different name. And we pay the price. The petroleum industry rips us off because they can. Someone farts and prices at the pump jump instantly … but they take weeks to moderate or go down, if ever.

    October 3rd, 2012 1:09 pm

  11. dylan

    hurray

    October 3rd, 2012 1:39 pm

  12. dylan

    this sucks for people how cant pay for gas and if your one of them sucks to be you haha

    October 3rd, 2012 1:40 pm

  13. kelkeagy

    I’m sure the upcoming election has nothing to do with it… (sarcasm).

    October 3rd, 2012 1:44 pm

  14. sonja

    Its because Christmas is coming and the ceos’ of the oil industry NEED new Bentleys and Yachts.

    October 3rd, 2012 1:58 pm

  15. Sweetsinger

    Just paid $4.33 for regular at Chevron in Windsor. Price jumped a dime since yesterday.

    October 3rd, 2012 2:26 pm

  16. Bulldog

    It’s about time to nationalize our oil now , this is getting way out of hand .

    October 3rd, 2012 2:30 pm

  17. Wayne Ryerson

    There are three reasons why prices go up, one is speculators who artificially inflate the price, greedy oil companies, and us stupid consumers who allow our selves to be manipulated and ripped off.

    October 3rd, 2012 2:51 pm

  18. Paulo Barros

    Wayne, I could not have said it any better.
    Oil companies sucking the money of suckers. I read once that i Brazil car prices are way above what they should. When car companies were asked why? They said: Because pay it. Yeap there are suckers everywhere, and we all pay for them.

    October 3rd, 2012 3:29 pm

  19. Gene Ricky Shaw

    I wondered how long it would take before someone brought up the conspiracy theories about “big oil” (it’s always ‘big oil’ not just ‘oil’) helping Romney. It was the first comment!

    Have they been “helping” him for 4 years? Gas is DOUBLE what it was when Obama took office. Wake up!

    October 3rd, 2012 3:52 pm

  20. Driver

    Price of wholesale oil dropped $4 today to well below $90. Wholesale gas dropped well below $3 to $2.77. I guess CA has it’s own set of rules.
    Just a bunch of crap to make more $:
    Phillps 66 is doing maintenance at refineries in Rodeo in the East Bay and in Arroyo Grande;
    Good timing.
    Cap and trade wouldn’t have any effect on this. It’s just the game they play.
    Fear the pollution from these refineries, not environmental laws. Any idiot that thinks we need less regulation on these guys isn’t paying attention or is too stupid to realize what is going on!

    October 3rd, 2012 4:00 pm

  21. Cliff M

    Well the gas companies that make Billions of profits each QUARTER are at it again. Gas up at my corner station went up 28 cents in FIVE days. Panic? Maybe we should nationalize the gas companies and cause them a real panic!
    Come on Obama and congress get these fools under control. There is no reason for these ridicilous jumps almost weekly then they drop a few cents and jump again.

    October 3rd, 2012 5:41 pm

  22. Doug Francisco

    I am so glad I live in Michigan now.

    October 3rd, 2012 7:56 pm

  23. mike abel

    so when cars get better gas mileage or no longer require gas from Fossil fuels what happens to big oil ?

    October 3rd, 2012 8:56 pm

  24. Mel

    Gas jumped to 4.42 today in central ca.

    October 3rd, 2012 10:06 pm

  25. Prices

    Oil companies behaves like a separate government for country. Every time they increase the price and announces we can’t bare this loss .

    October 4th, 2012 1:14 am

  26. Marc

    Gene Ricky Shaw, Get you facts right. Gas dropped in price during the Crash of O8 due to a big drop in usage and then came back up after. Gas before 08 was $4.06

    October 4th, 2012 6:24 am

  27. Eric G

    WOW I am glad I live in South Carolina and not California. Here in Upstate South Carolina gas is 335.9 a gallon, and some gas stations low as 329.9 a gallon.

    October 4th, 2012 10:36 am

  28. gill

    We already have high umemployment, high rent, low income , and how higher gas prices, I might as well stay home with daycare its getting expensive, and all them pigs in them fancy offices laughing away at us. Well I guess 2012 is really the end.

    October 4th, 2012 8:59 pm

  29. dj22

    Maybe we all need to stage a day of protest like we did back when and boycott stations. No one seems to listen to “us” otherwise.

    October 5th, 2012 7:10 am

  30. Laura

    I am selling my jeep because I can’t afford to buy gas thanks alot, i really can’t afford a prius.

    October 5th, 2012 11:18 pm

  31. Bill

    Instead of oil companies coming up with lame excuses, why don’t they just tell the truth when they raise gas prices, that would be “Because we can.”

    October 6th, 2012 11:52 am

  32. julio

    Since when we have to know about this refiners problems and they have to be pass to the consumers. When you buy your house the bank do not lower your mortgage, because that is your problem. Same scenario here but in reverse.
    I think they just want to rise prices for they convenience they do not care about us; especially here in California the state with more cars than people. 4 years ago when Mr Bush still in office they pull the same game, come on Wake up people..

    October 6th, 2012 7:13 pm

  33. Ryser

    Gas Chevron Sir Francis Drake BLVD Monday $4.19 Thursday $4.65 Saturday $4.71 , Monday $4.75 tomorrow an other Chevron accident etc.. enjoy as long you can next Year Gas Price $10 + war etc..may $40

    October 8th, 2012 5:20 pm

  34. JOHN

    when the oil company fu$% up due to their lack of irresponsibility we pay the price as in what happened in Richmond we are paying for it to all the oil company’s Grow some balls and take responsibility for your mess ups

    October 27th, 2012 11:52 pm

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