As gas prices continue to soar in the Golden State, Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling on the California Air Resources Board to allow refineries to begin distributing winter-blend gasoline earlier than usual.
State refiners are required to produce a summer-blend gasoline through October in most areas of California, and after Oct. 31, a winter-blend gasoline is allowed.
Newsom says it’s possible for refiners to produce more of the winter-blend than the summer-blend, and even indicated that they already began producing and storing the winter blend.
“In light of the dramatic increase in gas prices that California is experiencing, we should not wait until the end of the month to start distributing or to ramp up production of our winter-blend gasoline. Allowing refiners to make an early transition to winter-blend gasoline could quickly increase fuel supply and provide a much needed safety valve with minimal air quality impacts,” Newsom said in a letter to Liane Randolph, chair of the California Air Resources Board. “Accordingly, I am directing that the Air Resources Board immediately take whatever steps are necessary to allow for an early transition to gasoline to be manufactured, imported, distributed, and sold in California.”
Oil industry representatives said it is state regulations that cause higher prices in California than the rest of the country. The summer blend of gasoline that refineries are required by law to produce in the hotter months costs more money to make but is designed to limit pollutants like smog. Most refineries can’t switch to the winter blend until November.
Switching from the summer to winter blend would likely save consumers 15 to 20 cents per gallon, said Doug Shupe, a spokesman for the Southern California Automobile Club, an affiliate of AAA.
Pain at the pump is real for Californians, especially Los Angeles County residents.
Gasoline prices in the state jumped another 11 cents overnight, reaching an average of $6.29 a gallon Friday. In the L.A.-Long Beach area, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $6.38, 12 cents higher than Thursday.