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Calif. seeks relief from high gas prices

Oct. 8, 2012 at 8:32 AM
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SACRAMENTO, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown called on authorities to take "whatever steps necessary" to lower gasoline prices in the state.

Motor group AAA reports consumers in San Francisco paid, on average, $4.73 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline Monday, the highest in the state. The state average for was $4.66, compared to a national average of $3.81.

Brown directed the California Air Resources Board to allow refiners to switch to a winter blend of gasoline early to offset rising gasoline prices.

"Gas prices in California have risen to their highest levels ever, with unacceptable cost impacts on consumers and small businesses," Brown said in a statement. "I am directing the Air Resources Board to immediately take whatever steps are necessary to allow an early transition to winter-blend gasoline."

Switching to winter-blend gasoline, usually available after Oct. 31, could increase state supplies of gasoline as much as 10 percent, the governor's office said.

Refinery issues were blamed for high gasoline prices in the state. Brown's office said a refinery operated by Exxon Mobil was back online Friday and another operated by Tesoro is expected online this week.

"Combined, these actions are expected to stabilize and reduce fuel prices," said Brown's office.

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