Gas hike on both sides of border
MINDEN – Gas stations in Carson Valley are experiencing delays in deliveries, resulting in at least one closure this week and rising prices that could last all summer.
Low supplies during a switch from winter to summer blends, and a burst pipeline were the culprits for recent troubles, said Peter Krueger, spokesman for the Nevada Petroleum Marketers Association, a cooperative that supplies the bulk of gasoline in Carson Valley.
Those troubles have translated to at least a 10-cent hike in fuel prices at South Lake Tahoe, several service stations report.
An April 30 pipeline burst in the Bay Area – a pipeline which supplied much of Northern Nevada – caused fuel supplies to be cut by at least half. To make up for the lost gasoline, Nevada has been receiving higher grade California gas, Krueger said.
“The pipeline problem happened … but it was a Nevada problem that got filtered out to Lake Tahoe,” said Casey Moss, Manager of Al’s Chevron Way at Ski Run Boulevard and Highway 50. “It is an unfortunate situation because we’re all consumers.”
Unlike Carson Valley stations, none of the South Lake Tahoe gasoline stations reported having to suspend or delay services because of the pipeline problem.
Seven years ago, a similar problem occurred when the pipeline burst. One 6-inch line supplies the premium, unleaded and diesel gas and jet fuel to Northern Nevada from California-based refineries.
The pipeline was repaired earlier this week, but getting the supply back into operation will take a few more days, Krueger said.
Berry-Hinckley Industries owns 245 Winner’s Corner gas stations in Northern Nevada, including the Chevron station near Raley’s in Gardnerville, which was closed earlier this week. Krueger said of those nearly 300 stations, only four were closed.
“Sometimes there is not enough to go around,” Krueger said.
Other stations in Carson Valley experienced delays in gas supplies, including the Carson Valley Market and Good Cents in Minden.
Dave Mills, owner of Good Cents, said customers to his station have quoted prices up to $4 a gallon in other areas of the state. In Minden and Gardnerville, prices are holding at the $2.15 to $2.25 per gallon amount.
“Prices keep going up because we only have so much gas, said Sharon Clark, manager of the AM/PM in Minden. “Hopefully it’s over soon. It makes it hard on everybody.”
There are other reasons why motorists are experiencing shortages, according to Cynthia Harris spokesperson for AAA in Northern California.
“Nevada has jumped 45-cents since January for unleaded because Nevada gets its gas solely from California and California has the highest prices because it has the highest EPA standards,” she said. “The gas is higher quality.”
She said there is also a higher demand for gas in summer months when families are going on vacation. In addition, Harris said the country needs to build more refineries but governmental red tape has delayed any construction.
“There have been no new refineries built in this country in the last 20 years,” she said.
Harris also cites the situation with OPEC as being a critical factor in the gas shortage and the devaluation of the dollar abroad.
OPEC is the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that include 11 members: Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
“OPEC decreased production by 4 percent,” Harris said. “That is 1 million barrels of crude oil per day.
She said the market is speculative, like the stock market, and the war in Iraq increases speculation.
“Iraq cut its production considerably,” she said. “As a consumer, when we go to the pump and compare prices, we see stations different from another.
“We get information from the Department of Energy and have been told that wholesale prices have increased, so we could be seeing a trend of increased prices at the pump.”
– Tribune City Editor Jeff Munson contributed to this story.