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Jerry Brown orders early sale of winter-blend gas to boost supply, drop prices

A person pumps gas in this undated file photo.

October 7, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Gov. Jerry Brown ordered California smog regulators to allow winter-blend gas to be sold earlier, in a move aimed at boosting the gasoline supply and reducing prices.

The governor's office released a statement on Sunday, saying Brown directed the California Air Resources Board to immediately allow oil refineries to make an early transition to winter-blend gasoline, which is typically not sold until Oct. 31.

"Gas prices in California have risen to their highest levels ever, with unacceptable cost impacts on consumers and small businesses," Brown said in the statement. "I am directing the Air Resources Board to immediately take whatever steps are necessary to allow an early transition to winter-blend gasoline."

California's sky-rocketing gas prices have already prompted the California Independent Oil Marketers Association to push for a waiver to sell winter-blend gas earlier. Brown's office says an earlier winter-blend transition would increase the state's fuel supply by an estimated 8-10 percent with negligible air quality impacts.

Winter-blend gas is a mixture that evaporates more quickly than the gas sold in summer months, which takes longer to evaporate and is better for air quality during the smog season.

Gas prices across the Southland have jumped about 50 cents from last week, even tying a record set in June 2008.