After two months of lower than expected prices at the gas pump, car owners are seeing a different trend this week as pricing has jumped almost 25 cents a gallon in some western states. Reports of gasoline supplies dropping to low levels has spawned an increase in gas prices.
Retail gas prices on average have jumped from $2.98 per gallon to about $3.23 as of Friday. The increase of regular gas prices has jumped almost 60 cents per gallon since the end of January. Gas station owners incurred a huge 24 cent per gallon increase last week which left car owners frustrated at the swing in prices over the last few months.
California is especially hard hit as the state requires the producers of gas to create a special blend to meet with environmental requirements for the state. Adding to the higher gas prices in California was an explosion at one of the refineries that produces product for Exxon Mobil. The plant produces the special blend of gasoline required for California and has been shutdown putting reserves low in the state. The explosion caused several people to be injured while covering the area in ash which officials are checking for toxic matter. Further events at another facility in Martinez, California has shut down production due to ongoing labor problems.
Companies are looking to other refineries to have them produce the special blend of gas but many are unwilling as it requires more work and is expensive to ship as well as produce. Changing to the California blend restricts them from producing other types of gasoline and hurts profits.