California gas prices creep up again, but help may be on the way

Gas prices in the Los Angeles area rose again overnight, but not nearly as much as they have in recent days, and state officials are taking action to provide some relief.

The average price of a regular gallon of gas rose 3 cents Friday morning after a 13-cent increase the day before.

AAA listed the average price as about $6.32, which is still up 28 cents from a week ago and 95 cents more than a month ago.

Statewide, the average is about $6.08, more than $2 higher than the national average of $3.83.

In response to the high prices, Gov. Gavin Newsom has authorized state officials to roll out winter-blend gasoline earlier than the normal date of Oct. 31.

“Due to the composition of the gasoline, refiners can produce more of the winter-blend than the summer-blend,” Newsom wrote in a letter to the leaders of the Chair California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission.

“Allowing refiners to make an early transition to winter-blend gasoline could quickly increase fuel supply and provide critical liquidity on the spot market, and act as a much-needed safety valve,” he added.

Newsom also called for those officials to investigate and report ways to prevent “market-distorting behavior between refiners and traders that the current structure of that market may allow,” which he blames for the price spikes this fall and last.

State Republicans, however, blame California’s 58 cent-per-gallon gas tax.

“[The move to winter blend gas] is a win for drivers, but Newsom needs to go further to bring down gas prices,” Assembly GOP Leader James Gallagher said, as reported by The San Joaquin Valley Sun. “Enough with the finger pointing, sham investigations and unfounded allegations of price gouging. Everyone knows that prices are high because of California’s taxes and regulations – so let’s fix that and get drivers some relief.”

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