SANTA MARIA - People keep driving into the USA Gasoline station on the corner of Bradley and Stowell Roads in Santa Maria looking to buy gas only to see yellow tape locking down the pumps.
Most drive off, shaking their heads.
The only pump still turned on at the station is for diesel.
"I'm concerned, how are you going to get to work?", asks one customer we spoke with, "good thing I have diesel, how long will that last?"
The owner of the station was not available for comment.
But like some their independently owned gas station colleagues in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, taping off and closing down the pumps has become an economically practical choice.
In a gas supply crunch like this one currently, only the big brands, Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron are guaranteed to get shipments of gas at a contractually set price.
The smaller, independently-owned gas stations often rely on weekly or even daily spot prices for gasoline.
Right now with the gasoline supply crunch in full swing, the smaller, independent operators are finding it easier to turn off their pumps then sell gas at more than 5 or 6 dollars a gallon which they would have to do to make a profit.
That's why many consumers are flocking to lower priced, big box retailers like Vons in Nipomo to fill up.
"It's hurting the economy, its devastating", said one customer filling up at the Nipomo Vons, " we're at the mercy of the gas prices. "
Oil industry sources tell Central Coast News the gasoline supply crunch is the result of several market conditions including a lack of west coast oil refinery capacity due to a recent massive fire at a refinery in the Bay Area, along with the annual switch from summer blends to fall-winter blend gasolines in California.
Sources say as more refinery capacity comes back on line along with the completion of the switch to the fall-winter blends, overall gasoline supplies will start to increase in California and prices at the pump will start to fall back to the four dollar a gallon mark, or below.
Wednesday, June 5 2013 5:40 PM EDT2013-06-05 21:40:27 GMT
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