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Gas Prices Too High — Governor Steps In

Brown has ordered the early release of winter blend gasoline — usually reserved for after Oct. 31 — in an effort to increase gas supplies across the state.

High gas prices set a new record over the weekend in California, with the average cost per gallon in California surpassing a June 2008 record of $4.61. Monday's per-gallon price tag was $4.67. Now, the government is stepping in to try and curb further increases.

Governor Jerry Brown is requesting that the California Air Resources Board “immediately take whatever steps are necessary to allow for an early transition to winter-blend gasoline to be manufactured, imported, distributed, and sold in California.”

Normally, winter blend gasoline isn’t made until after October 31. In a letter released at noon on Sunday the governor says, “Due to the composition of the gasoline, refiners can produce more of the winter-blend than the summer blend.”

According to MercuryNews.com, gas is in short supply because a number of disruptions came about in a short time. A refinery in Torrance, CA lost power, two refineries in the state have partially shut down for planned maintenance, and a pipeline that brings Central Valley crude to Bay Area refineries is shut down right now.

Further complicating the issue is the Chevron Richmond Refinery that still isn’t back to full production after an explosion and fire in August. A release that accompanied Governor Brown’s letter estimated the move to winter-blend gasoline will result in an 8-10 percent increase in the gasoline supply.

The price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Concord Monday morning ranged from $4.45 at Bonfare Market on Willow Pass Road at Granada Drive to $4.74 at the Shell on Kirker Pass Road. 

The governor’s letter cites “unacceptable price impacts for consumers and small businesses, significant economic disruption, and serious harm to public safety and welfare,” as reasons to allow an early start date for production of the winter-blend gasoline and goes on to say the move will have “negligible air quality impacts.”

Did you fill up this weekend and notice the cost difference? How are you coping? Comment below.

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