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Fuel Prices Could Spike Higher

Audio

Aired 4/4/11

California fuel prices have found a plateau, but the prices could easily spike up again because the state's prices are vulnerable to international and local disruptions.

California fuel prices have found a plateau, but the prices could easily spike up again because the state's prices are vulnerable to international and local disruptions.

A woman pumps gasoline into her Hummer at a chevron service station in San Rafael, California.
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Above: A woman pumps gasoline into her Hummer at a chevron service station in San Rafael, California.

Fuel prices are running about a dollar a gallon higher this year, than a year ago. The political tumult in Egypt, Libya and other countries is pushing prices up as oil traders try to compensate for possible supply interruptions.

Joe Sparano, former president of the Western State's Petroleum Association, said even a refinery outage here could force a price spike.

"California used to have 32 refineries in the early 80s that made gasoline and diesel used by California consumers, said Sparano. "That number as of this year is down to 13."

It remains unclear how the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear situation in Japan will impact oil prices, said Sparano. There's a chance it could create more demand for oil, according to Sparano, and if that happens prices will likely go up.

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