Fears of Higher Gas Prices Loom Following Latest Refinery Fire in Carson

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Southern California motorists are fearing the worst Friday after the second fire in less than two months scorched an oil refinery facility in Carson.

The blaze erupted in the coker unit of the Phillips 66 Los Angeles Refinery's Carson facility shortly after 4:50 p.m. Thursday, according to a statement released by the refinery on Friday.

The fire burned at the facility --  located at Sepulveda Boulevard and Alameda Street -- for nearly three hours before it was extinguished by the refinery's emergency response team and Los Angeles County firefighters about 7:45 p.m., the statement read.

No injuries were reported, and air quality measurements taken Thursday afternoon were normal, officials said.

"Appropriate regulatory agency notifications were made following onset of fire, including notifications to the South Coast Air Quality Management District," the statement read.

The only part of the refinery that is not operating on Friday is the area impacted by the blaze, according to Phillips 66.

The same refinery caught fire in an even larger fire on March 15.

Three crude oil pumps caught fire in that incident, which prompted a temporary closure of the refinery.

That shut down, combined with other refinery closures, caused gas prices to skyrocket.

Oil industry experts don’t yet fully know the impact of Thursday’s blaze because the extent of the damage is still unknown, but early energy prices on the West Coast pointed to a potentially positive outcome.

"First glimpse into energy prices on the West Coast after #California refinery fire is positive- so far NO reason to believe #gasprices will react. Coast not completely clear yet, but looks okay so far," Patrick DeHaan, the head of petroleum analysis for fuel website GasBuddy.com, tweeted on Friday morning.

By Friday afternoon, he tweeted that the blaze may not have any effect on pump prices.

"It appears at this point there will be little/no impact on #gasprices from the refinery fire yesterday," he wrote on Twitter.

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