Gas prices have gone up in Southern California every day for more than a month. The average price for a gallon of regular is now $4.31 – 59 cents more than it was just a month ago.
There are two primary factors behind the hike, both of which are straight Crazifornia:
First, an unusually high number of California refineries are undergoing maintenance. If we could import oil from other states, this wouldn’t be as big a deal, but we can’t. Why not? See the next reason.
Second, on top of the maintenance, refineries are beginning the annual spring-time switchover from “winter blend” to cleaner-burning “summer blend.” Required by California’s air quality eco-crats, summer blend is brewed to evaporate less quickly in the summer heat. The conversion shuts down refineries, temporarily dropping supply and driving up prices.
Special blends also wipe us out during periods of unexpectedly high refinery maintenance. There are about 20 different blends around the country, all different, all trying to accomplish the same thing. If there were an agreement between the states to all have the same blends, we could bring in gasoline from other states during these maintenance periods. (Assuming that “greener-than-you” California would deign to having anything less than the toughest standards.)
It’s all apparently hooey anyway, because when Gov. Brown prolonged the sale of winter blend in response to high gas prices in 2012, we were told air quality would not be hurt:
State air pollution regulators said Monday that California’s air quality is not expected to worsen appreciably after the governor ordered the release of a dirtier blend of gasoline to help slash record-high pump prices. …
Gil Duran, a spokesman for Brown, said the governor looked at all the options available, particularly scientists’ prediction that such a change would not have a significant effect on the environment and “when he learned this could increase the supply by 8 to 10 percent, it just made sense.”
It’s past time for the eco-crats to make a case for the continuation of this silliness. I doubt very much they could prove the benefits of California’s special blends outweigh the costs.