Gas prices have climbed almost 60¢ in San Diego since Monday, and 40¢ since Thursday afternoon to a new all-time record high of $4.72 a gallon in San Diego. Governor Brown has ordered CARB, the California Air Resources Board to allow refineries to sell their inventories of winter blend gasoline, claiming that it will improve reserves of gasoline by as much as 10% and alleviate the alleged shortage of fuel in California (see LETTER to CARB here).
Winter blend gasoline vaporizes quickly when temperatures exceed 100 degrees farenheit. Because the winter blend can literally boil away into the atmosphere as vapor on a hot day, CARB usually does not allow it to be sold until after October 31, when the weather is less hot (click here for an explanation of Reid Vapor Pressure).
Meanwhile, Senator Feinstein has asked the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission to investigate California's refining industry to see if this unprecedented price hike was the result of unlawful market gaming by the oil industry. Historically, the FTC has been lackluster in its efforts to ensure a free market in California. Meanwhile, California refiners have been exporting gasoline overseas to keep supplies tight on the West Coast. With gas prices at an all-time inflation adjusted high of $4.72 a gallon, the strategy seems to be working.
For more information, contact Charles Langley at [ langley (at) ucan.org ]