Multiple factors lead to spike in gas prices |

Multiple factors lead to spike in gas prices

Matthew Renda
Staff Writer

Photo for The Union by John Hart

Gas prices are on the rise, but apparently only in California.

The price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline jumped 10 cents overnight and as much as 24 cents in the last week at various locations throughout western Nevada County.

"It's pretty high," said Amanda Apple, a Nevada City resident. "It took $65 to fill up my Ford Fusion."

James Cragle, Grass Valley resident, said the price of gasoline has put a significant hamper on his personal finances.

Flyers on the corner of Brunswick Road and Sutton Way in Grass Valley's Glenbrook Basin listed its price for regular unleaded at $4.45 per gallon Thursday.

The 76 station on the corner of Nevada City Highway and Brunswick Road had a gallon of regular unleaded listed at $4.45. The Quik Stop on Hughes Road had regular unleaded for $4.13 per gallon.

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In Truckee, prices for regular unleaded are hovering around $5 per gallon today.

The factors for the sudden spike have combined to create "a perfect storm" that exclusively affects consumers in California and northern Nevada.

A fire at a Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., Aug. 6 means the refinery is still not operating at full capacity, said AAA Northern California Spokeswoman Cynthia Harris.

Compounding the problem, another Chevron refinery, located in Torrance, Calif., was shut down due to mechanical failure Monday.

"That refinery is responsible for producing 150,000 barrels of gasoline per day for California," Harris said.

Additionally, a major pipeline in Kearns, Utah, that delivers crude oil to California refineries also experienced mechanical failure.

Finally, a refinery operated by Phillips 66 is undergoing a routine scheduled maintenance, which occurs seasonally, Harris said.

"The major refineries are not producing, which leads to a tightening of supply, meaning the wholesale price shot up, which is passed along to consumers," Harris said.

San Francisco witnessed a 10-cent price hike in the price of a gallon of regular unleaded overnight Wednesday into Thursday, Harris said.

"There is no letdown in sight," Harris said.

The shortages in California have affected only the Golden State, Harris said.

"The rest of the nation is enjoying lower gas prices," Harris said, adding that prices usually fall after Labor Day.

Northern Nevada also experienced a price increase as it is dependent on California for its supply of gasoline.

Reno had some of the lowest prices in the region with regular costing anywhere from $3.89 to $4.59 a gallon as of noon Thursday, according to

Repairs to the refinery in Torrance are expected to take at least a week, Harris said.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email or call (530) 477-4239. Staff from the Sierra Sun, The Union's sister publication based in Truckee, contributed to this report.

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