Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, August 13, 2012

Not Surprisingly, San Francisco Gas Prices Are Officially the Highest in State

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM

The picture says it all
  • The picture says it all

Gas prices across the nation increased 18 cents over the past two weeks, with fuel costs hitting hardest in California, particularly in San Francisco, where prices peaked at $4.06 per gallon.

California prices increased 23 cents, which means the average driver is shelling out $3.99 per gallon for regular gasoline -- and yes, we have Chevron partly to thank for that. 

"The national price of gasoline bottomed out on July 2, 2012 and has been drifting higher ever since," Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, wrote in an e-mail to SF Weekly.

Two factors struck California's gas economy: the increasing cost of crude oil, and the partial loss of production due to last week's fire at Chevron's Richmond refinery.

God only knows how many gallons of fuel went up in flames last Monday when the Richmond-based refinery caught fire due to a small leak. There were no major injuries, but California's gas prices certainly got burned.

Severin Borenstein, co-director of the Energy Institute at U.C. Berkeley's Haas School of Business, explained that California's gas prices are particularly volatile due to its fine market. The Golden State mandates companies to sell a particular mixture of gasoline, which no other states require. California refineries produce this type of gas mixture, but few other refineries in the nation make it, which means there's a limited supply, Borenstein, said. So, the state relies primarily on its own refineries to produce its fuel -- and if one California refinery suffers, the whole state takes the heat.

At the time of the fire, the Richmond refinery was producing about one-tenth of California's gasoline. The fire drove wholesale prices up 30 cents per gallon, Borenstein said. Meanwhile, crude oil has increased by as much as $15 dollars per barrel.

Although these stratospheric prices may cause some if you car-happy commuters to turn to BART -- or worse, Muni -- Borenstein says he's sure you will be back in your car in no time, calling this painful spike "a short-run blip."

"I don't think this is going to slow down the economy," he told us. "It will cost the economy a little bit, but there are other things to worry about."

True. Like the toxic air we are inhaling.

Follow us on Twitter at @SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

About The Author

Suzanne Stathatos


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"