LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Drivers should expect gas prices to go up this week, experts say.
“Gas is already pretty expensive, so it’s not good news,” one Los Angeles motorist said.
Gasbuddy.com predicts a price increase at the pump of 5 to 15 cents per gallon in and around LA.
The reason? A power outage at a Torrance refinery early Tuesday morning.
It comes less than a month after the last time electrical problems caused similar flare-offs, and this time, it will likely be days before the refinery is back to normal.
Wholesale gas prices have now surged, and prices at the pump may be next.
Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court says that while the price increase might be short-lived, the long-term problem at the refinery must be addressed.
“It feels like this refinery should have a backup co-generation for electricity,” Court said. “Almost every other refinery in Southern California has a backup plan when power goes out, but not this refinery, and it’s something public officials need to dig into.”
ExxonMobil previously owned the refinery but sold it to PBF Energy earlier this year. The refinery provides as much as 20 percent of the gasoline in California.
And now, Court blames Southern California Edison for blocking efforts to get a backup plan in place, all in the name of profits.
“When systems are built to break and people make a lot of money, it makes you question how the systems that are broken don’t ever get fixed,” Court said.
SCE wouldn’t respond directly to that claim but said in a statement: “SCE has multiple teams mobilized to fully investigate the cause of the outage and to determine any factors that may have contributed to it.”
For its part, PBF told the Los Angeles Times that it has enough inventory to meet commitments.