California's gasoline prices have skyrocketed, and finally in response that took far too long- Governor Brown is now prepared to do something. Brown ordered the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to immediately take emergency steps to increase the amount of gasoline available to stations to assist in bringing down record prices.
"Gas prices in California have risen to their highest levels ever, with unacceptable cost impacts on consumers and small businesses," said Governor Brown. "I am directing the Air Resources Board to immediately take whatever steps are necessary to allow an early transition to winter-blend gasoline."
Winter-blend gasoline is a mixture that evaporates more quickly than the gasoline sold in summer months, which takes longer to evaporate and is better for air quality during the smog season. Allowing an early transition to winter-blend gasoline could increase California's fuel supply by up to an estimated 8-10 percent with only negligible air quality impacts.
Gas prices in California have skyrocketed over the past week due to a tightening of fuel supplies caused by shutdowns at Tesoro and Exxon refineries. The Exxon refinery came back online Friday and Tesoro is scheduled to resume production early next week. Combined, these actions are expected to stabilize and reduce fuel prices.
One must ask why Brown waited until after the situation was already reversing itself- wholesale gasoline prices had already dropped 45c/gal on Friday, two days before Brown even made the announcement. Is this a political stunt? It may be, but the most important thing is that California motorists will be getting relief at the pump.