Last night's fire at the Chevron refinery sent a gargantuan cloud of black smoke into the air, forcing shelter-in-place for Richmond, North Richmond, and San Pablo. Now that the blaze is out, people want answers. In addition to already publicly apologizing for the nasty inferno, Chevron will host a public town hall meeting/Q&A tonight, August 7th, at 6 pm at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium (403 Civic Center Plaza).

In addition to the environmental damage caused by Monday's blaze, the Richmond refinery fire could also result in a gas price spike. "If the refinery is disrupted for an extended period of time, there would be an effect on gasoline prices on the West Coast," Pavel Molchanov, an analyst with investment firm Raymond James, tells Contra Costa Times. "The effect on California fuel prices is likely to be meaningful."

Noted for being the Bay Area's largest refinery, the Chevron fuel plant can process an estimated 240,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Looks like it's way past time to look for renewable, more high-tech sources of energy.

Previously: Toxic Chevron Refinery Fire in Richmond Prompts Shelter-in-Place