Gasoline in Pacific NW to Climb on Outage

By Brian L. Milne, Refined Fuels Editor for DTN


Retail gasoline prices in the Pacific Northwest will move higher this week after two refineries in Washington were forced shut by a power outage triggered by a car crash.


The forced shutdown of the two oil refineries late April 23, meaning less gasoline production for the region, sparked an increase in wholesale gasoline prices all along the West Coast.


On April 23, a car struck a utility pole that triggered widespread power outages in the Washington counties of Skagit and San Juan. The accident occurred while another transmission line was temporarily out of service for scheduled maintenance, exacerbating the event.


The sudden power loss forced Shell’s refinery in Puget Sound and Tesoro Corp.’s refinery in Anacortes to both shut, idling a combined capacity to process 260,000 bpd of crude oil into finished products such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.


On news of the downed refineries, wholesale prices along the West Coast reversed what was going to be a decline on the week, instead surging on April 24.


Drivers from Los Angeles to Seattle will see the impact on prices they pay at the pump early this week, with the biggest increases to occur in Oregon and Washington.


Nationally, retail gasoline prices will move slightly higher early this week, although some metropolitan markets could see flat to lower prices.


View DTN’s Weekly and Historical Gas Prices


The trend for retail prices remains up as we approach May, however wholesale markets have been volatile, with prices lurching between highs and lows on reduced demand and expectations for the economy to rebound.


About the author
Brian L. Milne is the Refined Fuels Editor for DTN-a leading business-to-business provider of real-time commodity information services. Milne has been focused on the energy industry for nearly 14 years as an analyst, journalist and editor. He can be reached at


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