Gas prices continue to rise across SoCal, but some relief may be on the way

Sid Garcia Image
Friday, September 29, 2023
Gas prices continue to rise, but some relief may be on the way
Gas prices inched up again overnight, but Gov. Gavin Newsom instructed state regulators to speed the delivery of the cheaper winter blend gas that could bring some relief.

Gas prices inched up again overnight, but Gov. Gavin Newsom instructed state regulators to speed the delivery of the cheaper winter blend gas in an effort to bring some financial relief to drivers across California.

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County rose Friday for the 23rd time in 25 days, increasing 3 cents to $6.31, its highest amount since Oct. 11.

The average price has risen 91.8 cents over the past 25 days, including 12.3 cents Thursday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

The average price is 27.8 cents more than one week ago, 94.4 cents higher than one month ago and 5.4 cents above what it was one year ago. It has dropped 17.9 cents since rising to a record $6.494 on Oct. 5.

"All this is, is price gouging. They're gonna spin you and it's the taxes and the environmental rules - and 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," Newsom said Thursday.

Earlier this week, the governor sent a letter calling for refiners to pump out the less expensive winter blend gasoline ahead of schedule. It's typically released at the end of October. That blend is around 20-25 cents cheaper than the summer blend.

Drivers across Southern California woke up to upsetting numbers at the pump Thursday morning after the average cost for a gallon of regular gas rose more than 10 cents overnight.

"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. Allowing refiners to make an early transition to winter-blend gasoline could quickly increase fuel supply... and act as a much-needed safety valve. Accordingly, 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," he said in the letter.

The California Air Resources Board has since approved the waiver to allow early use of that gas.

That's expected to lead to a dip in gas prices in the coming days and weeks.

Newsom has pointed fingers at the oil companies for the skyrocketing prices at the pump, but the Consumer Watchdog Agency says California lawmakers should work to prevent refineries from selling the expensive summer blend of gas supply.

"They use the shortage of summer blend as an excuse to raise prices, but there isn't a real shortage of summer blend," said Jamie Court. "They're shipping our gas to Guatemala and El Salvador, where they don't need our environmentally-sensitive fuel and they're getting less for it there. When they do that, that dries up the gas available for California."

"They do that because they know they can charge more if there's less gas here," he added.

City News Service contributed to this report.