The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County Friday recorded its largest daily increase since Feb. 24, 5.3 cents, because of a Northern California refinery fire expected to reduce gasoline supplies.
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The average price of $3.992 is the highest since June 16, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.
The average price is 14.8 cents more than one week ago, 30.8 cents higher than one month ago and 21.9 cents greater than one year ago.
The average price has risen 26 times in the past 29 days, increasing 31.6 cents over that span, including 4.7 cents on Thursday.
"Monday night's major fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond had an immediate effect on the wholesale gasoline market on Tuesday, which caused gas prices to shoot up since then," said Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California.
"Southern Californians have already been experiencing increased pump prices for nearly a month due to higher oil prices and this incident has just made the increases come even more quickly, said Spring.
"However, since that Northern California refinery is still partly operating, the impact may not be as great as what happened in February with the Cherry Point refinery fine in Washington. More should be known in the next few days," added Spring.
10News checked with Chevron as to when the refinery might return to full operation. A representative said the company is working as fast as they can, but there is no estimate for when the refinery will return to full operation. The Chevron refinery produces about 15 percent of the state's gas supply.
Charles Langley with the Utilities Consumers' Action Network said the oil companies are taking advantage of the refinery situation.
"They're exporting oil out of the state, and they've been dialing back production because they know that leads to higher prices," Langley told 10News.
Langley said the situation in Richmond should be a clear sign that there needs to be tighter regulation of oil refineries.
The fire at a BP refinery in Washington state in February left the plant out of commission until May, causing gasoline prices in the Pacific Northwest to rise about 70 cents.
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