As the Reader reported on December 14, gas prices in San Diego County reached a five-month low — $2.31/gallon at an Escondido station. But prices are turning upward.
At around 3:00 p.m. on December 17, the consumer-driven price-posting website Gasbuddy.com sent out a text alert to its area subscribers: “Gas prices are expected to increase 10-25 cents in California over the next week. You may want to fill up.”
Last January, when Gasbuddy sent out a similar alert forecasting a 25-cent-a-gallon increase, prices rose almost a dollar a gallon overnight. The increase didn’t stop until July 17th’s high of $4.23/gal (average).
By 4:00 p.m. on December 17, Escondido’s U.S. Gas (the lowest in the county) had gone up eight cents a gallon.
Why again, with the price of a barrel of oil reported at an 11-year record low?
Industry blogger Will Speer says an explosion at a Torrance refinery last February still isn’t fixed. Then, on November 23, Tesoro’s refinery in Carson was taken out of service after experiencing problems with a “fluid catalytic cracker.” This past weekend it was reported that Chevron’s El Segundo refinery also incurred damage to a fluid catalytic cracker.
Combined, according to figures provided by Speer, the three refineries account for the processing of 709,360 barrels of crude oil each day.
On December 15, wholesale spot market prices in Los Angeles spiked almost 22 cents a gallon.