California motorists may see an increase of 10 to 25 cents per gallon at the pump in the next week, following a fire that closed a Bay Area refinery, according to GasBuddy.com.
The fire broke out Monday at the Chevron refinery in Richmond. The fire was fully contained that night and the main fire has been distinguished Tuesday, according to Chevron. The facility is the third largest refinery in California.
Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, said gas prices in California may rise closer to $4 in the weeks ahead. The average gas price in San Bernardino County was $3.83 Tuesday afternoon.
In July, Valero's Benicia facility was forced to close for maintenance issues. It's unknown when Richmond and Benicia facilities will resume full production.
"Spot (wholesale/pre-tax gasoline) prices have already increased by as much as 30 cents per gallon in some West Coast markets and that's before the refinery damage has been fully assessed," DeHaan, said in a news release. "While wholesale increases do not always translate directly into retail increases of the same amount, they certainly point to the direction for which consumers should be prepared."
California's state-specific requirements for its gasoline exacerbate fuel supply problems when these shortages occur, DeHaan said. Without legislative reforms, California cannot borrow fuel from neighboring states.