SAN FRANCISCO – 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.
The California Air Resources Board issued a regulatory advisory after Gov. Jerry Brown ordered them Sunday to allow so-called “winter-blend” gasoline to be sold in California earlier than usual to increase supply.
AAA said the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in California hit $4.668 Monday – the highest price in the nation and an all-time high for the Golden State. Analysts said the spike has been driven by refinery disruptions and corrosion issues in an important pipeline.
California usually converts to the gas on Oct. 31. Sunday’s action was the first time since 2005 – when gas supplies were affected by refinery disruptions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina – that the air board has approved early conversion to winter-gas blends.
Officials said it could take days before prices fall, depending on how quickly refineries can get the winter-blend fuel to market.