PUMPING PREMIUM : STATE RULES, OIL COSTS DRIVE UP GAS PRICES.Byline: Gregory J. Wilcox Daily News Staff Writer
Retail gasoline gasoline or petrol, light, volatile mixture of hydrocarbons for use in the internal-combustion engine and as an organic solvent, obtained primarily by fractional distillation and "cracking" of petroleum, but also obtained from natural gas, by prices took their biggest jump since the Gulf War this week - 10 cents or more per gallon - prompting state officials Wednesday to enact the first phase of an energy emergency response plan.
Industry officials and analysts blamed the run-up on escalating crude oil prices - which are at a 10-year high - tight supplies, increased demand, refinery production problems and higher production costs.
Atlantic Richfield Co. initiated the latest round of increases when it raised wholesale prices to dealers by 9.25 cents a gallon effective Tuesday morning. Other companies quickly raised their wholesale prices, and consumers immediately felt the pinch.
``That's one of the larger (increases) that I can remember,'' said Scott Loll, spokesman for Arco Products Co.
It was the first price increase by Arco reflecting costs associated with state-mandated cleaner-burning gasoline that had to be at distribution terminals Monday. The new fuel is expected to reduce pollution-forming compounds by 15 percent.
California refiners spent about $5 billion upgrading equipment to produce the new gas - in Arco's case it was more than $500 million - and all the companies have said they want to pass on the costs to consumers.
But Arco's price spike also reflects the higher crude oil prices, Loll said.
Consumers have been paying higher fuel prices for several months. Since the first of the year, gasoline prices have risen 32 percent and diesel prices 50 percent throughout the state.
Between March 22 and April 12 in the Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. area, the price of regular unleaded increased 9.5 cents a gallon to $1.34, said Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the Lundberg Letter, which tracks market trends.
Gas prices still are climbing, and the cost of crude is the major reason, she said Wednesday.
In the past couple months, crude oil prices have increased about $7 per barrel, which translates to about 16 cents per gallon at the pump. But prices could drop quickly if the United Nations lets Iraq sell some of its oil on the world market.
Just a quick meeting of United Nations officials on that topic in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of on Wednesday sent oil prices plunging $1.27 a barrel. But when it became apparent no deal would be forthcoming, prices rallied, closing at $24.67 per barrel, up 40 cents for the day.
``If crude oil prices fall, then gasoline prices will fall,'' Lundberg said.
Nevertheless, the sharp increase in pump prices prompted the California Energy Commission The California Energy Commission is California’s primary energy policy and planning agency. Created in 1974 and headquartered in Sacramento, the Commission has responsibility for activities that include forecasting future energy needs, promoting energy efficiency through to activate its emergency plan to minimize other price hikes that may ripple through the economy.
The first phase of the plan, enacted by the state Legislature A state legislature may refer to a legislative branch or body of a political subdivision in a federal system.
The following legislatures exist in the following political subdivisions:
Ultimately, the state could control the distribution of up to 6 percent of the gasoline. But it cannot order a price rollback A DBMS feature that reverses the current transaction out of the database, returning the data to its former state. A rollback is performed when processing a transaction fails at some point, and it is necessary to start over. See two-phase commit. , said California Energy Commissioner Charles R. Imbrecht.
Imbrecht stressed that there is no acute shortage of fuel and urged consumers to refrain from rushing to top off their tanks.
``We are taking this action as a precautionary pre·cau·tion·ar·y also pre·cau·tion·al
Of, relating to, or constituting a precaution: taking precautionary measures; gave precautionary advice.
Adj. 1. measure to ensure that we have the latest price and supply information,'' Imbrecht said. ``We are not yet facing an energy emergency.''
Still, the rising prices are creating economic pressures on some consumers who said they have started rethinking summer vacation Summer vacation (also called summer holidays or summer break) is a vacation in the summertime between school years in which students are off for 3 months, depending on the country and district. plans.
Peggy Van Adelsberg, an accountant from Chatsworth, spent part of Wednesday afternoon shopping for the best price.
``I've been driving from gas station to gas station putting in a little bit of gas at a time,'' she said, fueling up her 1994 Ford Ranger The Ford Ranger name is used on two distinct and unrelated pickup truck lines by the Ford Motor Company
She paid $1.40 a gallon, pumping 17.7 gallons, or $24.75 worth of gas, into her tank, just short of a fill-up. After she was finished, she discovered to her dismay that gas was four cents per gallon less at a Texaco station across the street.
PHOTO (color) Filling station signs reflect rising gasoline prices this week.
Hans Gutknecht/Daily News