California Hopes Winter-Blend Gas Relieves Price Spike


Had enough of high gas prices? So has California Gov. Jerry Brown.

In an effort to reduce record prices at the pump, the Golden State's governor instructed the California Air Resources Board to allow oil refiners to transition to winter-blend gasoline ahead of the usual Oct. 31 switch. Winter-blend gas evaporates quicker than gas sold in the summer and could raise California's gas supply by up to 10%, although the fuel does have a greater, albeit minor, negative effect on air quality, according to a press release issued by the state's government.

The state's 38 million residents have suffered under exploding gas prices recently that have soared to a statewide unleaded average of $4.658, according to AAA. That state record is more than $0.80 over the AAA-estimated national average of $3.815.

A number of refinery issues sparked the dramatic price spike even as the national average has stabilized. An August fire at a Chevron (NYS: CVX) plant in Richmond, Calif., processing 245,000 barrels per day -- around an eighth of the state's processing capacity -- began the hike. An Oct. 1 power outage at ExxonMobil's (NYS: XOM) Torrance refinery further exacerbated the problem.

Stocks of the two oil giants certainly haven't been worse for wear during the time. Shares of Chevron has recently traded around a 52-week high, as has Exxon's stock.

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