Gas Prices Hover around $2 in Orange County, Calif. : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Gas Prices Hover around $2 in Orange County, Calif.

Source: The Orange County Register Publication date: 2001-05-04

May 4--Orange County's average gas price jumped to $1.95 per gallon Thursday as a statewide run-up in gas prices accelerated. A weekly survey by The Orange County Register showed that many stations in southern and coastal Orange County now charge more than $2 per gallon for regular.

Prices moved rapidly Thursday, with some dealers changing their prices three times during the day. Wholesale prices the amount dealers pay refiners for fuel have increased 12 to 15 cents since Monday.

Prices continue climbing as drivers use more fuel than refiners are producing. For a variety of reasons, refinery production is down, about 86 percent of capacity on the West Coast, the American Petroleum Institute reported. And Tosco hiked the prices it charges dealers who sell its 76 and Circle K brand fuels.

Tosco said it couldn't make enough fuel to meet demand and had to turn to the higher-priced spot market. That lowered its profits.

The Tosco move has pushed up prices for all brands. Arco, which traditionally prices below other brands, raised its price in some cases above other brands because sales had increased beyond what it could produce at its refineries.

The company, which sells about 24 percent of California's gas, needed to ward off supply shortages, spokesman Paul Langland said.

"Hopefully, when demand starts ratcheting back a little, our prices will come down," he said.

There is some good news for consumers. Thursday's spot-market price was below what dealers are paying refiners for their wholesale fuel. That means refiners likely will stop increasing prices. Langland said refiners also are running out of room to store fuel and fuel products. They could be forced to cut prices to sell more gas.

-- Martin Thompson (, May 05, 2001

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