The governor is directing the California Air Resources Board to allow refineries to make an earlier-than-scheduled switch to winter-blend gasoline. The move should result in greater amounts of gasoline being refined, leading to lower pump prices. The switch to winter blend usually doesn't occur until the end of October. Brown also said that a Tesoro refinery in Northern California is expected to be back on line early next week. These moves, along with last Friday's reopening of the Exxon refinery in Torrance, "are expected to stabilize and reduce fuel prices," Brown said in a statement.
Winter-blend gasoline is a mixture that evaporates more quickly than the gasoline sold in summer months, which takes longer to evaporate and is better for air quality during the smog season. Allowing an early transition to winter-blend gasoline could increase California's fuel supply by up to an estimated 8-10 percent with only negligible air quality impacts.
L.A.-area gas prices were up again on Sunday, but by a much smaller amount than the overnight increases on Thursday and Friday. An average gallon of regular is $4.696, up 3.5 cents a gallon from Saturday. Look for prices to peak in the next few days.