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Gas prices skyrocket
Climb 50 cents in three days, may rise higher
Rhonda Dorough drove by Applegates Market on Monday and the price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $4.15. On Tuesday, it was $4.35, Wednesday it was $4.45. On Thursday, it was $4.65
â€œThis is a ripoff. Whatâ€™s the deal,â€ asked Dorough of the spike. She wasnâ€™t the only person in town wondering what was happening.
Residents in the area are feeling the pull on their wallets as gas prices started climbing earlier this week to prices higher than seen earlier in the summer when a refinery fire caused them to top out at $4.29 locally. On Thursday, at some stations in Porterville, the prices spiked above $4.58 which was the all-time average high back in 2008.
â€œItâ€™s ridiculous, the prices are too much already. For awhile it was steady,â€ said Melissa Murrietta who had just pumped some gas at Applegates on Wednesday.
Gas prices Thursday in Porterville ranged from a low of $4.53 at Eagle Feather Trading Post to a high of $4.85 at Family Mini Mart on North Main Street.
Prices in Fresno, Visalia and Pixley ranged from $4.03 to $ 4.79, $4.13 to $5.09, and $4.79, respectively according to CaliforniaGasPrices.com
At Express Gas Mart at 1060 W. Olive Ave. owner Adel Joudi was not happy with the increase.
â€œItâ€™s all b.s. Oil companies want to make money,â€ said Joudi.
Fidel Mohsen, the manager at C&L Mini Mart at 11 W. Olive, pointed out that his customers were complaining.
â€œNobody is happy. People are not going to stop now,â€ said Mohsen.
Spokesperson Marie Montgomery of the Automobile Club of Southern California pointed out that the prices would continue to climb at least for the next several days.
â€œTheyâ€™re definitely spiking and spiking big,â€ said Montgomery. According to AAA, the average price in Tulare County has gone up 17 cents in the past week.
However, according to Montgomery, gas stations do not set prices.
â€œThey gotta pay what the distributor says,â€ stated Montgomery who explained that there are a variety of factors in this decision including competition, overhead costs of the stations and if the distributor can get to one area easier.
In Visalia, Porterville resident Dan Hazen paid $4.05 a gallon on Wednesday. Â
â€œWhen you work hard and constantly have higher and higher gas prices, itâ€™s unbelievable,â€ said Hazen.
The sudden rise in gas prices was isolated to California and due to a combination of factors.
The average gas price in California was $4.47 compared to $3.53 in Texas and $3.83 in Nevada according to CaliforniaGasPrices.com.
Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, said he is seeing the highest prices in the state around Los Angeles, where at least five stations have crossed the $5 a gallon mark, including $5.29 in Burbank and $5.11 in Norwalk.
Prices will keep rising, he says, because in the past week wholesale gasoline prices have jumped $1 a gallon, but average retail prices have only increased 30 cents.
â€œThis is one of the easiest forecasts: Retail prices are going to skyrocket,â€ he said.
The increase in gas can be attributed to many factors. According to an article by www.Bloomberg.com, the Torrance oil refinery lost power on Monday, the Kettleman-Los Medanos pipeline was still inoperable after elevated levels of organic chloride were found and the Richmond plant, which suffered a fire in early August, is still operating at reduced capacity.
One year ago the average price in California was $3.81. In March and May of this year, the state average was $4.36.
Adriana Reyna, a carpooling customer at the Chevron station on D Street, was not surprised with the fluctuation in price.
â€œIâ€™m used to it. It keeps going up then down,â€ said Reyna, who believes the price has to do with the upcoming elections. â€œWeâ€™re getting close to the elections. They need to get money somewhere.â€
Relief is in sight.
â€œAt the end of the month gas stations will switch over from summer blend to winter blend. Itâ€™s cheaper,â€ added Montgomery who offered a few gas-saving tips including carpooling and looking at a consumerâ€™s driving style.
â€œIf you are a lead foot you are wasting gas,â€ said Montgomery.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.