Explaining Southern California's economy

Unlucky ($4.)13 for gas prices in Los Angeles?

Marc Serota/Getty Images

People stand near downed branches as Tropical Storm Isaac begins to move ashore. The storm is creating havoc in the heart of the U.S. refining business, adding additional pressure to force prices up.

That's about the size of it. According to GasBuddy.com, the average price of a gallon of regular is holding steady at just about $4.13 today, a week ahead of Labor Day. 

This is about 2 cents higher than a week ago and confirmation that the fire at Chevron's Richmind refinery in the Bay Area a few weeks back has taken enough capacity offline to ensure that L.A. prices will remain above $4 a gallon.

But there are other problems in the world of gas refining and oil drilling. A fire hit a huge refinery in Venezuela over the weekend, and tropical storm Isaac is currently cutting a swath through the heart of the U.S. refining industry, the Gulf of Mexico. Numerous oil and gas suppliers and refiners have shut down their operations until the storm blows over.

All of this will push gas prices up nationally. They're risen about 25 cents since this time last month. But they haven't hit $4 yet. Los Angeles crossed that threshold a while ago because California law requires that our drivers burn a cleaner blend — one that isn't produced in significant volume outside the state.

Read More...