Chevron Says Richmond Crude Unit Offline Until End of December

Chevron Corp. said a fire-damaged crude-processing unit a California refinery won’t resume production before the end of the year as retail gasoline prices surged to a record in the state.

The crude unit was knocked out of service during an August blaze at the refinery near San Francisco. Chevron, based in San Ramon, California, announced the extent of the closure in a statement today.

The Richmond disruption was the first in a chain of events that crippled Californian fuel markets and led to gasoline shortages that have forced some filling stations to shut and others to raise prices close to $5 a gallon. Governor Jerry Brown this week ordered regulators to ease pollution rules to speed delivery of fuel supplies.

Regular gasoline at the pump climbed to an all-time peak of $4.671 a gallon, according to data published today by AAA, the nation’s largest motoring organization. That’s up from the previous record of $4.668 reported at the same time yesterday. Prices jumped 50 cents last week as refineries reduced output and Chevron shut a crude pipeline because of contamination.

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