There's relief in sight - Governor Jerry Brown ordered the Air Resources Board to allow the early switch to the higher-polluting winter-blend gasoline which is not only easier to refine but enables California to import it from other states to alleviate supply issues and bring down the price that skyrocketed $1 a gallon last week.
As California refineries age, more problems will arise and they are. The State which normally allows only summer-blend gas to be sold until the end of October, will switch to winter-grade gas immediately.
An August 6th refinery fire at Chevron's Richmond facility in Northern California and a power failure at Exxon Mobil's Torrance operation a week ago in Southern California contributed to the shortage and price spike. There's also talk that gas market traders influenced the price hike.
According to AAA:
- September’s monthly national average of $3.83 was the most expensive ever for the month. The previous record-high average for September was $3.72 a gallon in 2008.
- Gas prices this September cost 14 cents more on average nationally than in August. The monthly average pump price this August was $3.69 a gallon.
- Gas prices in 2012 are on track to be the most expensive ever. The average price of gas so far in 2012 is $3.64 a gallon, which compares to the existing annual-average high of $3.51 from 2011.
- Today's current average price of regular gasoline in California is $4.668 per gallon which compares to South Carolina's $3.486.