Gas prices are on the rebound and expected to rise another 15 cents this coming week, according to the website GasBuddy.com, due to refinery troubles at two sites, coupled with the continuing tight supply of gasoline in the state. Up in Richmond, California, the Chevron refinery “flared” on Tuesday, burning off gases that had built up during the refining process. Wholesale prices across the state soared. For Richmond’s neighbors, a flare event means increased toxins in the air; for the refinery, flaring means the unit will be shut down until depressurization is completed. The flare lasted 10 minutes, according to the Bay Area’s KRON television station. The Richmond refinery normally processes up to 250,000 barrels crude per day.
In Martinez, California, the Tesoro refinery was reported to be having “problems” on Thursday, which shut it down for the day. According to Allison Mac, a petroleum analyst based in Los Angeles, California’s reliance on locally produced gasoline and the February fire at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance narrow gasoline availability in the state. Per gallon prices of gasoline are expected to stay higher as the per barrel price of crude has headed back to $60 territory, compared to the slump down in the $40s as recently as March.