Refinery Issues and Rising Prices

Refinery outages have caused massive gasoline price increases here in California.


Joseph Salcido, Deputy Editor

It’s no secret that California has the highest average gas price in the nation, sitting at $5.85 a gallon. With the national average at $4.23, locals are getting fed up and are demanding answers. 

The increasing price is hurting us here on the West Coast due to several problems, and many Americans are aware that the ongoing war in Ukraine has caused some increases in price as well. The cost of crude oil has come down, but our increase in California is due to two refineries encountering issues that have halted oil production.

“Southern California gas prices are continuing to move higher due to refinery issues we have been experiencing recently,” Doug Shupe, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s corporate communications manager, told City News Service. “PBF Energy refineries in Torrance and Martinez and a Valero refinery outside of San Francisco have experienced unexpected problems in recent weeks that caused a reduction in gasoline production, and therefore more increases at the gas pumps.”

One of the major issues reported by the Torrance refinery was that a March 6 power outage shut down a portion of the production. They have been working on getting one of the oil production units restarted, and have had no luck. NBC San Diego did reach out to the refinery to see if there was any date on which normal production would be resumed, but there was no response.

The Torrance facility accounts for almost 10% of California’s demand, which equates to 1.8 billion gallons per year. This creates a problem for many local San Diego residents, as this has started to affect the way people operate in their daily lives. Some people have even ditched driving and begun using public transportation and rideshares such as Lyft and Uber as an alternative.

“I thought I was going to escape these gas prices since I Lyft almost everywhere these days after selling my car, but boy was I wrong, as they added a surcharge that turned a normal $15 ride into almost $35,” Grossmont Luis Macias said.

While this can be fixed, the timeline is still up in the air. In the meantime, gas prices will continue to swipe every dime they can from locals’ pockets.