California Refinery Fire Expected to Up Gas Prices

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Wed, August 8 2012 at 6:26 PM, Updated: Wed, August 8 2012 at 11:43 PM

If you think gas is already expensive think again, because fueling up could soon take a bigger chunk out of your wallet.

"I wish they would go back down," said driver Frances Butler, who is works as a gas attendant.

After a fire took out at an oil refinery in California earlier this week.

The Chevron plant in Richmond, California produces about 240,000 gallons of crude oil every day. Making it a big supplier on the west coast.

And now some gas experts are predicting prices will go above four-dollars a gallon over the next one or two weeks. It's not good news for Frances Butler.

"It means less paycheck," she said.

Butler said she has an 80-mile commute roundtrip and she drives to work five days a week.

Meantime, other drivers are dreading the potential increase.

"Hopefully gas prices won't reach that four dollars, but if they do, i'll be trading in my car," said driver Curtis Buckelew.

However, AAA officials say people should stay calm.

"It's really hard to say what's going to happen. Just the fear of having that refinery down will possibly send prices up," said Becky Lonctot with AAA.

Lonctot said since the fire, our area has seen gas prices go up only a few cents.

As for how long high gas prices could linger?

"Depends on how long the refinery is down," said Lonctot.

And if you do see a spike...gas attendant Butler said don't take it out on the people at the pump.

"We have to depend on the suppliers...they go up to us , we have to go up to the consumers," she said.

Drivers, unable to do much but scale back even more.

Becky Lonctot said once the refinery is back up and running, it may take a couple weeks for prices to come back down and stabilize.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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