Additional pain at gas pump anticipated


The Chevron Refinery fire happened three weeks ago. The next day, at a Chevron station in Millbrae, a gallon of regular unleaded was at $3.85 a gallon. Now, that same gallon is 38 cents more and it's happening all around the Bay Area. Now, with the new panic that supply will be down in the Gulf, prices have nowhere to go, but up.

Gas prices in the Bay Area have been climbing steadily since the Chevron refinery fire three weeks ago. Bob Russell, visiting from Maryland, noticed the vast difference in prices on the West Coast.

"Back East, the prices are much lower than this. I was really surprised to see how high they were," said Russell.

And we may not have seen the worst of it quite yet. Tropical Storm Isaac is forcing a pause in production at major refineries along the Gulf Coast. Companies have evacuated 346 oil and gas production platforms and 41 drilling rigs. That panic of reduced supply sent wholesale gasoline prices nearly 2.5 percent on Monday.

"Every time you turn around, it's that they either sneeze at OPEC, or else they're lighting fires out at the refinery," said James Haggard of Redwood City.

The day after the Chevron fire, a gallon of gas went for $3.85 for regular. Now at that same gas station, a more than 30-cent rise per grade. It's excruciating at the pump, but what about for those who are behind the wheel for a living?

"It doesn't only affect me, it affects customers," said Mo Shabaan.

Shabaan says he has to charge his passengers more with the rising cost of gas, but he can't hike his prices right alongside the evermore costly price. "And that affects the business because they think, 'Well, wait a minute. Why are you raising your prices on me?'" And when asked what he could do, he replied, "Pray to God that we get the gas prices down."

While some are praying, others are escaping early beating the Labor Day weekend rush, no matter the cost. The prices don't seem to be stopping anyone else, either. AAA estimates nearly four million Californians will travel 50 miles or more from home over this Labor Day weekend and three million of those will be driving.

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