By Elgin Nelson, Staff
The average price of regular, self-serve gasoline spiked in L.A. County to $6.31, its highest since October 11 last year, and in parts of Los Angeles, gas prices have crossed the $7 threshold. Gov. Gavin Newsom has now urged refineries to switch to winter-blend fuel earlier than expected, which could bring immediate relief in prices dropping as much as 25 cents per gallon.
“All this is, is price gouging,” said in a recent statement, adding that he is furious at the unexpected spike in gas prices. “It’s B.S. You’re smart enough to know what those taxes are compared to the national average, and it doesn’t add up.”
With a new gas price transparency law put into effect in June that exposes price manipulation in real time by requiring daily reports on the market and imports, officials can address the issues that have contributed to a recent increase in gas prices.
“We now have the tools to see where this market is broken,” Newsom said. “We can see the unusual spot market transactions that create unexplained spikes in prices that Californians pay at the pump…we will no longer be left in the dark as private traders and corporate interests make record profits while Californians foot the bill.”
Winter-blend gas usually releases at the end of October, with its prices approximately 20-25 cents cheaper than the summer blend.
“In light of the price spikes, we should not wait until the end of the month to start distributing or to ramp up production of our winter-blend gasoline. I am directing that the Air Resources Board immediately take whatever steps are necessary to allow for an early transition to winter-blend gasoline to be manufactured, imported, distributed, and sold in California,” Newsom addressed in an official letter.
The California Air Resources Board has since approved the waiver to allow early use of that gas, and Newsom expects those prices to drop very soon.
“We expect to see gas prices begin to decline over the next few weeks,” said Newsom.