Cynthia Harris, senior spokesperson for AAA, said that northern Nevada is still experiencing affects of refinery issues in California. A Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif. caught fire on Aug. 6 and is still unable to operate at full capacity and an Exxon refinery in Torrance, Calif. that suffered a malefaction last week also contributed to the spike in price.
“The refinery with the August explosion is still not running at full capacity as of yet,” Harris said Monday. “We are also seeing an interruption in crude oil being pumped to northern California and all of these issues affect northern Nevada because they receive their gas from California.”
On Monday, Sparks’ cheapest gas was going for $4.09 (Golden Gate) and ranged up to $4.49 (Shell). Convenience stores like AM/PM and 7-11 showed prices between $4.13 and $4.15 in east Sparks, according to NevadaGasPrices.com.
“The good news is that prices are going down because the refinery issues are being taken care of and this will only be a short-term trend,” Harris said, adding that the average price of gas in northern Nevada on Monday was $4.25, a one-cent decrease from Sunday. “Barring any unforeseen events or major catastrophes prices will descend in two to three days and hopefully by the end of the week the normal prices you see during this time will return.”
Harris said that Gov. Brian Sandoval has provided a waiver concerning the use of “winter blend” gasoline effective immediately, allowing price relief from the summer blend. She said the relief of the waiver in conjunction with California refineries getting back on track will bring prices down.
While the traditional travel and vacations seasons are past, gas prices tend to fall across the nation just before the fall season hits. In 2011, the United States recorded an average price of $3.66 in September and $3.52 in October, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Friday evening, NevadaGasPrices.com reported the Nevada average gas price at $3.89 and the national average at $3.80. Sparks resident Brin Reynolds said he feels lucky his bike can take him on most commutes because the price of gas is slowly growing out of his price range.
“I usually ride my bike just about everywhere,” he said. “I can get to school and work with no problems. When the snow hits I will be heading up to ski so I hope it comes back down a little bit before then.”
Some Sparks residents admitted feeling “handcuffed” by the rising price because the commodity is one they rely on for work and recreation.
One California resident fueling up in Sparks Friday said he couldn’t believe how quickly prices rose. Working in Winnemucca last week, Preston Scofeld said when he fueled his truck early in the week things didn’t seem too bad.
“When I left Sunday afternoon I think it was $3.84 or something like that at the 7-11 I stopped at right before I left town,” Scofeld said. “I come back and I feel like ‘did I miss something?’ Did we have a huge spill or what because this seems way off.”