California drivers — or the millions of them whose cars still run on refined petroleum — can expect to pay more to fill up their gas tanks in the coming days thanks to the partial shutdown of Valero’s Benicia refinery.
The retail cost of a gallon of gasoline in the state is expected to rise immediately, according to David Hackett, president of Stillwater Associates, a transportation energy consulting company based in Irvine.
That’s after a 12-cent spike in wholesale gas prices on Monday, Hackett said.
“That price increase is likely to get passed through to motorists over the next week or so,” he said. “You’ll start seeing prices go up starting probably today.”
The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in California is $3.51, 16 cents higher than a week ago, according to AAA.
Several agencies are investigating a series of petroleum coke dust releases at the Benicia refinery that began more than two weeks ago. Those releases intensified on Sunday, prompting city officials to issue a health advisory.
The Valero refinery’s flue gas scrubber malfunctioned, a problem that led to a sooty plume of petroleum coke to billow out of the facility’s smokestacks. To deal with the problem, the refinery is slowly shutting down a significant part of its operations.
Last week, problems at two other California refineries contributed to the recent jump in gas prices.
AAA says a fire at a crude processing unit at the Phillips 66 refinery in Los Angeles County and a series of flaring incidents at Chevron’s Richmond refinery drove prices higher.
AAA spokesman Michael Blasky said price spikes are the norm when refineries suffer problems that lead to curtailed production.
“When a refinery goes offline and supply drops, retailers incorporate price increases almost immediately in California,” Blasky said.
Wholesale suppliers that sell fuel to gas stations and hear about the Benicia refinery’s shutdown will probably go into the so-called spot market to buy gas, sending the price up, Hackett said.
The refinery problems come amid a jump in the price of crude oil over the last year, which has sent gas prices up nationally.
Repost from STAND.earth [Editor: STAND is asking for your signature on a petition. Go here. – R.S.]
NO MORE TAR SANDS TANKERS IN CALIFORNIA
The science is in— tar sands oil is much dirtier than conventional crude. It has an outsized climate impact, is terrible for air quality, and when it spills it’s much harder to clean up than conventional crude oil. And now Phillips 66 wants to expand its refinery to process more tar sands in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This would significantly increase the amount of oil tankers coming into the Phillips 66 refinery in the bay! In addition to its negative impacts on California,increasing tar sands production is bad for indigenous communities at the source in Alberta, and transporting it via oil tankers threatens devastating oil spills in the waters of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon as well.
It’s important that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, Gov. Newsom, and other key decision makers do everything they can to stop Phillips 66 from completing this expansion project.
To BAAQMD, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Gov. Newsom, and other key decision makers in California:
Tar sands oil harms our air, water, climate, and indigenous communities. We respectfully urge you to reject Phillips 66’s refinery expansion that would double the number of tankers delivering to their refinery and allow them to process tar sands.
Tar Sands Free SF Bay – Town Hall meeting Thurs Mar 7 2019, Rodeo Hills Elementary
Feb 27, 2019
This coming Thursday, refinery corridor residents and allies are presenting a community forum on Phillips 66’s very dangerous plans to expand tar sands refining at its Rodeo facility.
Increased use of tar sands in the P66 crude slate means vastly increased tanker traffic in the Bay, an increased risk of spills, and increased assaults on community health and our worsening climate. This town hall is an opportunity to learn about the two linked P66 proposals—the first Environmental Impact Report drops soon—and what we can do to stop them.
Please come out to listen, learn, and offer support to impacted community residents.
Food and beverage provided!
Andres Soto, Communities for a Better Environment
Pennie Opal Plant [and or Alison Ehara Brown], Idle No More SF Bay
LaDonna Williams, All Positives Possible and Fresh Air Vallejo
Janice Kirsch, MD, 350 Bay Area
Janet Pygeorge, President, Rodeo Citizens Association
Greg Karris, Senior Scientist, Communities for a Better Environment
Rodeo Citizens Association, Crockett-Rodeo United to Defend the Environment, Fresh Air Vallejo, Sunflower Alliance, 350 Bay Area, Idle No More SF Bay, Communities for a Better Environment, and Stand.earth.