Refinery goes up in flames, taking gas prices with it

Refinery goes up in flames, taking gas prices with it »Play Video
Gasoline and diesel prices are shown Wednesday, March 2, 2011, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

EUGENE, Ore. - Gas prices in Oregon had just settled down when a fire ripped through a refinery in California.

Now experts predict gas prices on the West Coast will rise again.

"You know, every time the prices go up, there's a refinery in flames somewhere or a busted piepline," said Dwight Williams, who manages the Chevron station on Willamette Street. "It's always something."

And it's often gas station attendants who bear the brunt driver's frustrations.

Williams said people take rising gas prises out on him all the time.

"They have a few choice names to call me," he said.

Williams said no one likes it, but he knows prices will go up in the next few weeks.

In addition to the refinery closure, another California facility was forced to close due to maintenance issues back in July. It's uncertain when either of these refineries will be back in operation.

And until then, senior petroleum analyst Patrick de Hann said Oregon may continue to see prices go up.

"It's difficult to put an exact amount on it," he said, "but we expect over the next week, prices could increase anywhere from 5 to 20 cents per gallon."

So if your pulse pounds when you pay for fuel, keep this in mind: it's not the gas station attendent but a refinery fire in California that's responsible for your pain at the pump.