With gas prices on the rise, California could switch to the cheaper winter fuel blend earlier than usual in an effort to bring down prices.
Gov. Gavin Newsom called for the earlier switch, but California Republicans are pushing the governor to take more action to combat high gas prices.
The big picture: Newsom penned a letter to the California Air Resources Board directing for an early transition to the winter blend gasoline to be manufactured, imported, distributed and sold.
- California refiners are required to produce a summer blend through October 31, after which the winter blend is introduced.
- The winter blend is able to be produced in greater amounts that the summer blend due to its composition, meaning California refiners can introduce more gas into the market to drive prices down.
- “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,” Newsom wrote. “Allowing refiners to make an early transition to winter-blend gasoline could quickly increase fuel supply and provide critical liquidity on the sport market, and act as a much-needed safety valve.”
- The average gas price in California rose to $6.03 on Thursday, up $0.75 from one month ago and higher than the national average of $3.84. Some parts of California rose above $7 as well.
The other side: While Republicans applauded Newsom’s directive to switch over the winter blend, they are still pushing the governor to suspend the gas tax to considerably drive gas prices down.
- Thursday, Assembly Republicans wrote a letter to Newsom calling for him to convene a special session of the Legislature to temporarily suspend the gas tax, which costs Californians $0.58 per gallon.
What they’re saying: “Today’s announcement is a win for drivers, but Newsom needs to go further to bring down gas prices,” said Assembly GOP Leader James Gallagher. “Enough with the finger pointing, sham investigations and unfounded allegations of price gouging. Everyone knows that prices are high because of California’s taxes and regulations – so let’s fix that and get drivers some relief.”