Yesterday, Sunday, Oct. 7, Gov.Jerry Brown sent a letter to Mary Nichols, Chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, directing the board “to 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.”
Normally, winter blend gasoline isn’t made until after October 31. In the letter released at noon on Sunday the governor says, “Due to the composition of the gasoline, refiners can produce more of the winter-blend than the summer blend.”
Overnight, gas prices in Healdsburg dropped about 20 cents per gallon, from $4.79 Sunday for self serve regular gas at Fast Lane Healdsburg to $4.59 per gallon today. Self-serve regular at Rotten Robbie Healdsburg was down to $4.55 per gallon.
According to MercuryNews.com gas is in short supply because a number of disruptions came about in a short time. A refinery in Torrance, CA lost power, two refineries in the state have partially shut down for planned maintenance, and a pipeline that brings Central Valley crude to Bay Area refineries is shut down right now.
Further complicating the issue is the Chevron Richmond Refinery that still isn’t back to full production after an explosion and fire in August. A release that accompanied Governor Brown’s letter estimated the move to winter-blend gasoline will result in an 8-10 percent increase in the gasoline supply.
The governor’s letter cites “unacceptable price impacts for consumers and small businesses, significant economic disruption, and serious harm to public safety and welfare,” as reasons to allow an early start date for production of the winter-blend gasoline and goes on to say the move will have “negligible air quality impacts.”