Of course, the entire world is overwhelmed by the curious Mars landing — $2.6 billion worth of excitement, while down here on planet ground-level, the costs of everything seems to be going sky high, especially with that black-assed oil, whose end products we pour into our earthbound motor vehicles.
And oil is one of them double-horrors — currency-killing and stupid at the gas pump and extinction -inducing to our climate.
No winners here.
Not helping is black-oil smoke bubbling up from a refinery fire, pictured at left, and the pass-along expense to consumers flailing and failing to keep up with all the dollars gone bye-bye in all the ash.
(Illustration: Fire at Richmond, CA, refinery found here).
Monday evening, the huge Chevron refinery in Richmond, CA, just south of San Francisco, encountered explosions and resultant fire, which caused about two hundred injuries (but no deaths) and forced East Bay residents to stay indoors with doors and windows locked tight.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the fire started from a leak on No. 4 Crude Unit, which grew and grew until it ignited — shit then hit the fan: “Everybody evacuated so fast people’s car alarms were going off,” said Sara Monares, 55, who lives a short distance from the refinery.
Beyond the terror of local residents, this is the big problem:
The Chevron Richmond refinery was founded more than a century ago and is Northern California’s largest, capable of processing more than 242,000 barrels of oil each day.
It is the third-largest refinery in the state.
A prolonged closure could push up gasoline prices, which are already rising nationwide because of a rally in the market for crude oil.
Any lengthy disruption in production could affect the supply of fuel in the West Coast, particularly gasoline, due to the difficulty in meeting California’s super-clean specifications. The region also has few immediate alternative supply sources.
The Chevron plant accounts for one-eighth of California’s refining capacity and could take months to repair the damage.
Shit for us up here on the north coast.
Yesterday, I pumped another $20 worth of gas into old Jeep again at $4.09 a gallon for regular — already up a big, fat dime since the last time.
The Chevron fire might knock the price higher and higher.
“Chevron will have a hard time finding replacement barrels in an already short market,” said Bob van der Valk, a petroleum industry analyst in Terry, Montana.
“Refineries are already drawing down summer blend inventory in anticipation of the switch back to winter blend gasoline.”
And from HuffPost:
Oil rose above $92 per barrel for the first time in more than two weeks on Monday.
Meanwhile, pump prices have risen to their highest level since early June.
Oil has gained nearly 20 percent since hitting a low of $77.69 in late June.
That’s meant higher pump prices for motorists during the summer driving season.
The price of retail gas has increased about 29 cents since July 1, and is now within a dime of where it was a year ago.
Prices at the pump rose 5 cents over the weekend to a U.S. average of $3.619 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service.
Much of the increase was due to a spike in gasoline prices in the Midwest, where pipeline and refinery problems helped jack up pump prices last week by about 40 cents or more in some parts of Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 80 cents to finish at $92.20 per barrel in New York.
Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of crude, rose 61 cents to end at $109.55 per barrel in London.
Monday’s increase for oil followed a big spike on Friday.
That’s when oil gained almost 5 percent after the U.S. government reported a surge in jobs growth last month, increasing optimism that the economy is on the right track.
This is just another brick in the wall of fire.
Hang on my Jeep!