Explaining Southern California's economy

Cost of Chevron's Richmond refinery fire: 118,000 barrels of oil a day

Tony Lee {fototaker}

Chevron's Richmond refinery near San Francisco was shut down due to fire. It affected the company's third-quarter earnings, but not substantially.

Chevron released its third quarter earnings on Friday, and they were weaker than the same quarter last year. The company made a mere $5.3 billion compared with $7.8 billion last year. 

“This quarter’s earnings were solid, but off from their near-record level of a year ago,” Chairman and CEO John Watson said in a release to accompany the earnings announcement. “Crude oil prices were down and we had a heavy period of planned oil field maintenance which temporarily reduced oil and gas production in several locations. Foreign currency movements also hurt our results this quarter, while they benefited the year-ago period.” 

People in this state might be curious about how California-based Chevron fared in the aftermath of the fire at its Richmond refinery in the Bay Area, which caused gas prices in the state to spike at the end of the summer (and contributed to something of a minor gas crisis in October when there were problems at several other refineries in the state).

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Gas prices in Los Angeles remain above $4 a gallon

Mercer 20784

Corey Bridwell/KPCC

Gas prices at a Chevron station in Pasadena, CA. In Los Angeles, prices has climbed well above $4 a gallon and are closing in on $4.20.

According the U.S. government, there's only one region in the U.S. where a gallon of regular gas costs more than $4 a gallon, and that's the West Coast (there are five regions altogether than the government has created to track). And within the West Coast, gas in Los Angeles is running 11 cents higher that the region as a whole, reports GasBuddy.com: $4.08 versus $4.19. 

Gas in California is always ore expensive than in the rest of the country. In fact, if you take California out of the West Coast region, the average price-per-gallon promptly falls 16 cents, to $3.92. At which point, the New England region then has the most expensive gas.

In L.A., our gas has been running above $4 a gallon since early-August, when the fire at Chevron's Richmond refinery took out one of the main suppliers of the special environmentally friendly formula that's required by law. 

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Los Angeles gas prices are stable but still high

August-20-Gas-Prices

EIA

Gas: It's more expensive everywhere in the U.S. But it's especially expensive in California.

The fire at Chevron's Richmond refinery in the Bay Area several weeks ago caused gas prices in the Southland to shoot above $4 a gallon on average. And there they have stayed. According to GasBuddy.com, a gallon of regular currently costs Angelenos about $4.11. That's where the average, more or less, has been for a week.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released its weekly survey of gas prices nationally, and it shows that L.A. drivers shouldn't be shocked at the $4-plus pricing. The entire West Coast region (there are five regions in the U.S.) hit $4 on August 20, with California accounting for a notable 22 cents of that average. Take California out of the picture and West is paying $3.78 on average for a gallon of regular.

The West Coast region has seen by the largest year-over-year increase in the price of gas: 31 cents.

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