It's already been well discussed: West Coast motorists, prepare for gas prices to get nasty. Wholesale gasoline prices, the determining factor in setting retail prices, has zoomed higher today throughout the West Coast.

How bad is it? Los Angeles wholesale prices rose by the second largest amount in the last year, just 2 more cents per gallon from the biggest single day increase in the last year. Similar stories in for other regional wholesale prices- San Fran rose by its highest amount in the last year- a whopping increase of over 35 cents per gallon. Meanwhile, wholesale prices in Oregon and Washington rose their third most in the last year, adding nearly 23c/gal. While these numbers are strong evidence of where retail/pump prices will head, motorists shouldn't expect the increases to happen just in one day.

It's likely that big increases will lie in the days ahead for much of the West Coast. Perhaps 5-10c/gal per day, or maybe even more, depending on local competition. Prices will likely remain high for weeks or perhaps over a month- the refinery fire is similar in nature to a refinery that Oregon and Washington motorists remember all too well after BP's refinery in Washington caught fire in February.

While the Great Lakes sees relief from its seemingly insignificant refinery issues, the West Coast will easily outpace the national average in the next couple weeks. And while we're warning you about it, there isn't a lot motorists can do besides drive more defensively or park the car more often, but being prepared is certainly better than being unprepared. We'll definitely continue following this story right here on the blog.