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California Gov. Brown directs ARB to allow refiners to make immediate transition to winter-blend gasoline to bring down record prices in the state
7 October 2012
On Sunday, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. directed the California Air Resources Board (CRB) immediately to allow oil refineries to make an early transition to winter-blend gasoline as an emergency steps to increase the state’s gasoline supply and bring down fuel prices. Winter-blend gasoline typically isn’t sold until after October 31.
Gas prices in California have risen to their highest levels ever, with unacceptable cost impacts on consumers and small businesses. I am directing the Air Resources Board to immediately take whatever steps are necessary to allow an early transition to winter-blend gasoline.—Governor Brown
California regulations require refiners to produce gasoline that meets eight specifications to reduce air pollution from the gasoline used in motor vehicles. One of the eight specifications is a standard for Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) which is designed to reduce evaporative emissions during the summer months when ambient temperatures are their highest (summer blend). RVP is measured in pounds per square inch (psi); the lower the psi in gasoline, the less evaporative emissions that generally will occur.
Due to the composition of the gasoline, refiners can produce more of the winter-blend than the summer-blend fuel. Allowing an early transition to winter-blend gasoline could increase California’s fuel supply by up to an estimated 8-10% with only negligible air quality impacts, according to the Governor’s office.
Gas prices in California have soared 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.
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