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Release of ‘winter-blend’ gas could reduce prices

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

SAN FRANCISCO – State air pollution regulators said Monday that California’s air quality is not expected to worsen appreciably after the governor ordered the release of a dirtier blend of gasoline to help slash record-high pump prices.

The California Air Resources Board issued a regulatory advisory a day earlier after Gov. Jerry Brown ordered them to allow so-called “winter-blend” gasoline to be sold in California earlier than usual to increase supply.

AAA said the average price for a gallon of regular hit $4.668 Monday in California – the highest price in the nation and an all-time high for the Golden State. Analysts said the spike has been driven by refinery disruptions and corrosion issues in an important pipeline.

“This action is necessary to address the extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstance,” said the board’s advisory allowing the use of the more polluting fuel. “[It] is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety or general welfare.”

California usually converts to the gas Oct. 31.

The fuel evaporates in heat more quickly than summer-blends, so sends more pollutants into the environment, especially in warm weather.

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