Fleetowner 2818 Gas Pump 2

While diesel prices fall elsewhere, they jump in California

May 18, 2012

Truckers hauling to California be forewarned, while the average price of diesel in the country continues to drop, fueling up in the Golden State can cost you a pretty penny with at least one fuel station in the state listing the price for diesel at close to $6/gal. this week.

According to the May 14 Diesel Boss Fuel Report, the price of diesel at surveyed California truckstops was at least 30 to 60 cents higher per gallon than the highest prices elsewhere in the country.

According to the Dept. of Energy the average price of diesel for the week of May 14 in California was $4.349/gal., 35 cents a gallon higher than the national average price for diesel.

And it can be worse in certain locations. GasBuddy.com, which posts the locations for the highest and lowest prices for diesel in the state, shows that the Viva Truck Stop in Wilmington, CA, had the lowest price for diesel at $3.97/gal. on May 16, while a gas station in Woodland Hills listed diesel at a staggering $5.99/gal. More than a dozen stations in the state were selling diesel for more than $5/gal.

Analysts blame the rise on the lowest fuel supplies for May in the western U.S. in 20 years, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. In California, the price for regular gas reached an average of $4.367/gal. on Monday, up 15.4 cents from a week earlier, the Energy Department said.

Refinery problems were the major cause of the supply problem on the West Coast, analysts said. In recent years, the state has closed two refineries, according to the state Energy Commission and four refineries that supply the state are shut temporarily, mostly because of maintenance.

BP is also struggling to reopen its Cherry Point refinery in Washington, where a fire caused a shutdown that began in March, according to the Times. That has forced some Washington fuel suppliers to look toward California’s limited fuel stocks until Cherry Point refinery production is brought back online.

“With only 12 refineries in California, any shutdown becomes a major problem,” Charles Langley, a gasoline analyst with the San Diego-based Utility Consumers’ Action Network, said. “This is all about supply and demand. They restrict supply and demand more money.”

California and the West Coast “is the one region in the U.S. that still has a little Jason Voorhees from ‘Friday the 13th’ in its system. Price spikes there are not dead yet,” Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service in New Jersey told the Times.

“The West Coast remains at the mercy of refinery production,” GasBuddy.com’s Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan told the Times. GasBuddy.com tracks prices at more than 100,000 retail outlets across the nation.

About the Author

Deborah Whistler

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