Santa Rosa gas prices on the rise as rest of U.S. gets a break

Reduced production at West Coast refineries contributed to a weekend "super-spike" in gasoline prices in Santa Rosa and around the state, a California Energy Commission official said Monday.

Such increases are generally short-lived, and prices at the pump should begin to subside in a week to 10 days, said Alison apRoberts, a commission spokeswoman.

The surge pushed a gallon of regular gas to $4.33 in Santa Rosa on Monday, up nearly 13 cents from a week ago, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.

California gasoline prices are typically 20 to 40 cents a gallon higher than the national average, but on Monday Santa Rosa's price was 60 cents above the nation's $3.73 average, the report said.

While gas prices are soaring in California, they are falling in other parts of the country. The national average was down 5 cents from a week ago, and 24 cents lower than a year ago.

Monday's price in Santa Rosa was 7.5 cents higher than it was a year ago.

"It's a West Coast issue," apRoberts said.

Prices are rising in California, in part because of maintenance that curbed production at five of the state's 12 motor gasoline-producing refineries. Those facilities are expected to ramp up production shortly, she said.

Fire closed a BP refinery in Washington in February, and a planned restart failed last week, prompting BP and other companies to buy more expensive gasoline on the spot market, apRoberts said.

A 12-cent price increase, considered a "super-spike," is not unprecedented, she said, but it is hard on consumers.

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