Update: The clock last reset on September 19th, when PBF's Torrance refinery experienced a power outage that has idled most of the refinery's production. Restarting the refinery will take over a week.
When refineries go down, gasoline prices go up. That's why we started the clock on the next "unplanned" refinery outage: the Golden State Gouge-ometer. We started keeping time when Exxon's Torrance refinery, down for more than one year, came back online 24 days ago.
Well, the new record in 2016 for days without an unplanned outage is 23 days, because Chevron's El Segundo refinery went down last night.
Gas prices on the wholesale "spot" market in LA went up a dime over night. According to the Hazardous Materials Spill Report, the refinery shut down due to a power outage at 6:45 last night, which caused increased flaring, but was back online within two and a half hours.
The clock's running again and we're taking bets on how long it will be until the next gasoline refinery's "unplanned" outage.
Our Golden State Gouge-o-meter's ticking and we're starting a pool about how long California refineries can run without an outage during 2016. The winner of the pool will get two free tickets with priority seating to our 2017 Rage for Justice Awards Dinner.
Send your best estimate of how long California refineries can go without an unplanned outage to email@example.com. One entry per person.
2015 saw by far the highest California gas prices compared to the US average. In 2012, California was momentarily 80 cents above the US average (when Chevron’s Richmond refinery went down). Last year, drivers in Los Angeles paid a $1.50 over the national average on certain days.
The 2015 Golden State Gouge was caused by the outage at ExxonMobil’s Torrance refinery, which stayed offline for an astounding 14 months. By the end of 2015, consumers had spent an extra $10 billion due to the higher gas prices.
When supplies drop, the problem is exacerbated by California’s uncompetitive refining sector. Just four refiners control 78% of California’s refining capacity, giving them unparalleled control over supply in the state. Throughout 2015 the companies have used every tactic in the book to capitalize on the shortage and reap huge profits at the expense of drivers.
It’s only a matter of time until another refinery outage causes more pain at the pump. Put in your entry for how long until the next Golden State Gouging moment.
How Long Can California Go Without An Unplanned Refinery Outage? Enter the Contest