California Hopes Winter-Blend Gas Relieves Price Spike

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Had enough of high gas prices? So has California Gov. Jerry Brown.

In an effort to reduce record prices at the pump, the Golden State's governor instructed the California Air Resources Board to allow oil refiners to transition to winter-blend gasoline ahead of the usual Oct. 31 switch. Winter-blend gas evaporates quicker than gas sold in the summer and could raise California's gas supply by up to 10%, although the fuel does have a greater, albeit minor, negative effect on air quality, according to a press release issued by the state's government.

The state's 38 million residents have suffered under exploding gas prices recently that have soared to a statewide unleaded average of $4.658, according to AAA. That state record is more than $0.80 over the AAA-estimated national average of $3.815.

A number of refinery issues sparked the dramatic price spike even as the national average has stabilized. An August fire at a Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) plant in Richmond, Calif., processing 245,000 barrels per day -- around an eighth of the state's processing capacity -- began the hike. An Oct. 1 power outage at ExxonMobil's (NYSE: XOM  ) Torrance refinery further exacerbated the problem.

Stocks of the two oil giants certainly haven't been worse for wear during the time. Shares of Chevron has recently traded around a 52-week high, as has Exxon's stock.

Fool contributor Dan Carroll has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of ExxonMobil. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Chevron. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2012, at 12:42 PM, kthor wrote:

    when prices are falling, it's odd that Chevron Refinery has a fire or two ... always the last 10 yrs ...

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2012, at 10:29 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    all i can say is wow. the eco-weenies that won't let anybody build a refinery or drill for oil are complaining about high fuel prices. it must be collusion between the oil big-wigs, lol.

    go buy your electric clown cars and leave the rest of us alone, please.

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