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Gas prices rebound locally, statewide after refinery fire

By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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After a two-month slide, gas prices are roaring back — with a double-digit jump over the past month. “The recent fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond has created a short-term spike in gas prices across many parts of the Pacific Northwest and Nevada,” AAA Northern California spokeswoman Cynthia Harris said in a press release. “It still remains to be seen how long the impact of the fire will be felt. Meanwhile, across the United States, positive economic news has been putting upward pressure on oil prices.” In Auburn Wednesday the price of a gallon of regular unleaded ranged from $3.95 at Arco to $4.15 at Shell and Chevron. At Rowdy Randy’s in Downtown Auburn, customer Gwen McFarland, who works in Auburn, said she’s feeling the pinch. “Absolutely,” she said. “I can barely make it to work and back.” Sacramento resident Laura Bosich, who was also getting gas at Rowdy Randy’s, just takes it in stride. “I know I have to get gas to get to and from work and there’s not anything I can do about it,” she said. “I just put in a little at a time.” Rowdy Randy’s employee Dashe Harder said she’s seen the price rise about 30 cents in the past month. On Wednesday it was $4.19 cash and $4.29 credit for a gallon of regular unleaded. “Even diesel went up today,” she said. “It’s unusual that diesel is more expensive than regular. It’s because of the refinery fire. That’s what my gas guy told me.” The Beacon on Lincoln Way was charging $4.09 for regular unleaded on Wednesday. “Most people know it is because of the refinery fire,” manager Sarah Stephens said. “Of course they still complain.” When prices go up, she sees changes in buying habits. “It was ‘Hot August Nights’ (in Reno) last week, so people were filling up for that,” she said. “But (in general) more people are buying $5 and $10 (worth of gas) and using way more credit cards.” At the Arco at the Foresthill exit of Interstate 80, the $3.95 price, posted in view of Interstate 80 commuters, brings in lots of repeat business from residents as well as Bay Area drivers stopping to fill up to and from Tahoe, Manager Jassi Singh said. Customer Rick Taylor, an Auburn resident, said he — like everyone else — has noticed the upward climb at the pump. But the impact, so far, has been minimal. “We don’t drive that much,” he said. “When we have to go, we have to go, whatever the price is. But I’m price conscious, so that’s why I shop here.” As of Tuesday, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in California was $4.10, up 40 cents from a month ago, but still 37 cents less than a year ago, according to AAA. Nationwide, the average price was $3.70, up 32 cents from early July and 10 cents more than the national average price a year ago. The most expensive average price in Northern California was in Eureka at $4.37. The lowest average price was $4 in Marysville. Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com. ----------- Prices around Auburn for a gallon of regular unleaded Wednesday: Rowdy Randy’s — $4.19 cash, $4.29 credit Beacon on Lincoln Way — $4.09 Shell on Lincoln Way — $4.15 Arco at Foresthill exit — $3.95 Chevron at Foresthill exit — $4.15 Gas & Shop at Foresthill exit — $3.99 Valero at Foresthill exit — $3.97 cash, $4.07 credit Flyers at Foresthill exit — $3.99 cash