Kurt Hildebrand

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October 8, 2012
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Witches' brew of events blow up Valley gas prices

At least one Carson Valley gas station raised the price of a gallon of regular unleaded by 20 cents over the weekend while another shot up a dime.

Even the cheapest gas stations in the Valley, the two Arco AM/PM Minimarkets bookending Minden and Gardnerville saw prices jump 7 cents over the weekend.

"It's been crazy," said AAA spokeswoman Cynthia Harris.

Gas prices shot up in August thanks to a fire in the Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., but were compounded by routine maintenance at a Phillips 66 refinery in Southern California, a pipeline that feeds crude to Northern California and the shutdown of an Exxon refinery.

"All these issues happening at the same time brought about a unique situation," Harris said. "Because less gas is being produced, it caused prices to go up."

Gas prices in the Bay Area are the most expensive in the country, and average prices in Northern Nevada on Monday hit $4.25 for a gallon of unleaded regular, down a cent from Sunday.

"That went down 1 cent," she said. "We are starting to see prices stabilize. We had the Exxon refinery go back online Friday. The Chevron refinery is still not up and running at full capacity."

She said that a couple of factors will play in motorists favor over the rest of the week.

One of those is that Gov. Jerry Brown signed a waiver allowing winter gas to be sold earlier. Because it's mixed with ethanol and has fewer additives, the gasoline is cheaper to produce. Also the refinery and pipeline issues should be resolved soon.

"Most assuredly we will see relief in sight," she said. "The increase in gas prices is a short-term trend."

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The Record Courier Updated Oct 9, 2012 02:16PM Published Oct 8, 2012 08:18PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.