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Published On: Tue, Oct 9th, 2012

Fourth straight day of record gas prices in California

The rise in California gasoline prices has slowed after recent jarring increases, but nonetheless the cost of a gallon inched up to another record high, even as officials hope their emergency action will help ease the sticker shock.

Gas prices in California may have some residents feeling like it was 1973 again. David Falconer, Photographer

The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in California today is $4.671 a gallon, up just 0.3 cents overnight, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, which tracks prices from 100,000 retail outlets across the U.S.

That’s still 48.9 cents a gallon higher than it was a week ago and 86.6 cents a gallon above last year’s price.

Wholesale prices rose overnight from about $3.19 a gallon to about $3.515, but that was still well below the $4.39 a gallon they reached last week.

Analysts caution that when prices do begin to drop, the decreases will be slow.

“On the way up, there is the compelling need for these gas stations to survive. This was not opportunism on their part,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service. “On the way down, they can feather their decline.”

The state’s gas taxes are significantly higher than the national average and many of its retailers have to sell a higher-quality blend of gasoline in order to reduce smog and other pollutants.

These special blends are also a byproduct of state mandates to refine the mix locally and problems have left residents with no alternatives.

The Washington Post details the two scenarios which led to this disaster.

The Kettleman-Los Medanos pipeline, which carries 85,000 barrels per day of crude oil to the San Francisco Bay Area, has been closed since mid-September due to organic chloride contamination. And on Monday, a power outage shut down ExxonMobil’s 149,000-barrel-per-day Torrance refinery in L.A.

Two factors allow the price in California to spike much higher than the rest of the country. First, a different blend is required to meet California air quality standards. Second, there is little pipeline capacity to bring in refined product from elsewhere.

Below is a chart graphing the price – Gas Buddy

About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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