BP's Cherry Point refinery, blamed for high gas prices while offline, is back online

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BP's Cherry Point refinery, which has been cited as a reason for high gas prices in Washington state and elsewhere on the West Coast while offline, is back online, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

A large fire broke out at the refinery on February 17, and it had been shut down ever since.

BP officials had denied the plant had anything to do with West Coast prices, but representatives with AAA said otherwise.

"The west coast stocks, they call them, are at their lowest May level since May 1992," AAA spokesman Dave Overstreet said. "That's due to a combination of factors, but among them is the problems with the refineries we’ve been having."

Other factors, like increased demand for gas during summer driving, also affect prices.

It wasn't immediately clear how soon gas prices might be impacted by the refinery coming back online.

BP Cherry Point is the third-largest refinery on the West Coast. It produces 20 percent of Washington's gasoline needs and supplies the majority of jet fuel for Sea-Tac, Portland and Vancouver, British Columbia, airports.