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LA refinery fire to push up gas prices

  |   Sept. 26, 2009 at 2:10 PM
LOS ANGELES, D.C., Sept. 26 (UPI) -- A fire at a Los Angeles gasoline refinery will likely push pump prices up by a nickel or more per gallon in California, analysts say.

Damage from the three-hour fire Friday at the Tesoro facility in the city's Wilmington area had yet to be fully assessed, and depending on the scale of the destruction, California drivers would see retail prices rise by at least 5 cents per gallon, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Before this fire, the price was about to drop like a rock," Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service in New Jersey, told the Times. "Instead of falling sharply, the price will go back up."

Kloza said the Wilmington incident and a smaller fire at a Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., would team to push prices up. Another expert, Bob van der Valk, agreed that a nickel-per-gallon rise was likely, but also predicted a collapse in pump prices by the Thanksgiving holiday, saying low demand and increasing supplies would win out by then, the newspaper reported.

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