Experts: Calif refinery fire will boost gas prices

Associated Press
Smoke pours from a fire at the Chevron Richmond Refinery, seen behind Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. Officials have told residents of two Northern California cities to shelter-in-place as a fire at the refinery releases plumes of black smoke. The fire, first reported at 6:40 p.m. Monday, is burning in a process unit at the refinery, officials said. It was sending smoke over the cities of Richmond and San Pablo. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
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RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) — Analysts say a fire at one of the country's biggest oil refineries will contribute to higher prices at the pump on the West Coast.

The fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, about 10 miles northeast of San Francisco, broke out Monday evening.

It sent plumes of black smoke over the San Francisco Bay area and sent scores of people to hospitals with breathing problems before it was out the following morning.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, says Chevron's refinery is big and important to the market.

With inventories of gasoline in the region already low compared with the rest of the country, Kloza says pump prices in California and elsewhere on the West Coast will soon average more than $4 per gallon.

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