Goddammit. Just when we were beginning to get used to this summertime dip in gas prices -- they've fallen from over $4.30 in March to about $3.90 today -- the largest refinery in NorCal has to go and screw everything up.
According to reports, a series of explosions at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond caused a massive fire to break out yesterday evening. A dramatic cloud of black smoke spread over the Bay Area as the sun set...
Guess what? If you live anywhere near the 1,000-acre Inglewood oil field -- in Culver Crest, Baldwin Hills, Baldwin Vista, Ladera Heights, Windsor Hills, Village Green or anywhere around there -- your home is bordering the largest urban oil field in America.
Cool, right? It's run by giant Texas oil company Plains Exploration & Production (PXP), and from above, it looks like a big wormy amoeba thing that wants to eat your brain.
What a fine way to kick off 2012: with some apocalyptic gas prices to sucker-punch an already battered economy.
Over the last three weeks, California company Lundberg Survey Inc. finds that gas prices have risen just over 12 cents across the nation. And Lundberg's president tells Bloomberg Businessweek that we can expect "5 to 7 cents more in price hikes" down the line.
What's more, Los Angeles -- car capital of the world -- has been blessed with the highest gas prices of all.
How quickly we have forgotten those violin montages of gunky turtles and other dying sea babies!
In July 2010, angry at evil oil-drilling corporation BP for letting such a catastrophic amount of their goods leak into the Gulf of Mexico, only 34 percent of Californians said, in response to a Public Policy Institute of CA survey, that they supported offshore drilling. BP bad! (Meanwhile, we're guessing about 1 percent of the remaining 66 actually left their SUVs at home for a day. Sigh.)
Now, one year later, a July 2011 survey shows we're incapable of learning from history:
A longtime employee of the BP refinery in Carson died early yesterday morning while on the job. The L.A. County Coroner identifies him today as 54-year-old white man William Barry Wise, an Irvine resident.
BP spokesman Walter Neil told the hounding press that Wise had been working in an area of the refinery where railcars are loaded with "light" products (like gasoline, as opposed to heavier stuff like tar or asphalt) when, at about 8 a.m., one of the cars somehow pinned him down.
The L.A. County Sheriff's Department initially responded to the scene...
If you were lucky enough to run out of gas near 950 North Avalon Boulevard in Wilmington yesterday morning between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and had you pulled into the crowded Valero station among the throngs of frantic gas-guzzlers -- well, we're extremely jealous. Because you totally scored off the Best Computer Glitch Ever:
The nation was abuzz yesterday with highly unsustainable news of a fresh way to squeeze millions more barrels of oil from the deepest Earthstuffs of America the Beautiful: It's called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" among Big Oil execs and burly Daniel Day-Lewis types, and it's a distinct possibility for California's own Monterey Shale, an oil field stretching from NorCal down to Los Angeles County.
Pros: A shit-ton more jobs in the drilling biz, national internalizing of the industry (lining up nicely with Obama's call for fewer imports, if not his more karma-friendly obsession with alternative energies of the future) and possibly lower gas prices.
Cons: Uh... Where do we start?
It's easy to hate BP. Those jerks made the glistening Gulf of Mexico into a goopy seafood dish that lined our nightmares in black slime and swallowed helpless baby animals whole.
And that was just the view from unaffected California, where we continued guzzling BP product like they hadn't just fucked over the nation's entire Southern coast.
Yup. Turns out an entire quarter of Los Angeles' gas comes from a gargantuan BP-owned eyesore in south L.A. County, right between Torrance and Long Beach in the young city of Carson. You know, the one with the oversized American flag stamped on its ugly metal frontside, just in case we ever forget the awful, Earth-killing principles our country stands for? Yeah, that's the one.
Former Shell Oil president Jon Hofmeister, who likes to dole out scandalous dirty-energy news items now that he's not trying to run a scandalous dirty-energy corporation, had something very scary to tell North Carolina college students this summer.
WCNC news unfortunately titled the juicy bit "Former Shell Oil president talks about Gulf oil disaster," which, of course, no one read. National media didn't latch onto the item until this morning, and um... we didn't want to be the black sheep who reported it on time or whatever.
But now that it's out there -- $5 per gallon??? What a freaking outrage!