Northern Nevada Gas Prices Soar

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Gasoline prices are soaring in northern Nevada and some speculate a broken pipeline 800 miles away in Arizona is fueling the spike.

AAA Nevada reported the average price in Reno for a gallon of self-serve unleaded jumped 3 cents from Sunday to Monday to $1.83.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners operates the Arizona pipeline that shut down Aug. 8. The company also provides more than 90 percent of Nevada's gasoline, though supplies to northern Nevada come entirely from northern California refineries.

Industry officials said Monday the ongoing havoc in the Phoenix area has shown itself here in prices some predict will reach $2 a gallon here before long.

"Fuel is a commodity, and the markets are driven by speculators," said Peter Krueger of the Nevada Petroleum Marketers Association. "I'm not surprised. It's one of those things."

Steve Yarborough, owner of several Union 76 stations in Reno and California, said gas prices are sensitive to disruption in flow.

"Anytime there's a hiccup in the supply, that drives up the spot market rate," he said. "We're caught up in this supply situation. It's just this big domino effect."

AAA spokeswoman Lisa Foster said the automobile club found no direct link between the Arizona gas line break and northern Nevada's rising prices.

But she said the fear factor that can affect the price of commodities could be at play.

"I'm not sure what the reason is," she said. "We're seeing prices going up throughout the West, and even faster in Utah than here."