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Analysts: California gas-price surge could end today

October 08, 2012|By Ronald D. White

Analysts said that the record-breaking climb of California gasoline prices could end as early as today, if the state manages to avoid any new refinery problems.

Analysts said the price jump was already slowing down even as Gov. Jerry Brown decided Sunday to ease the state's gas-blend requirements to allow refiners to process the less expensive winter blend of fuel three weeks early.

Today, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California is up just 1.3 cents overnight, to $4.668 a gallon, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. That is a new record for the state, but prices rose by more than 17 cents a gallon in one 24-hour period last week.

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According to another fuel price watch source, GasBuddy.com, California gasoline prices have begun to hold steady for the first time since last week's surge.

But some are not satisfied just because the crisis may be over soon.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has called for a federal investigation into what happened to the price of gasoline in California last week, saying that she was concerned that the jump had little to do with supply and demand.

The state's most recent data on gasoline supplies had indicated that California was only 2.5% below 2011 levels.

Meanwhile, some analysts were applauding Brown's actions.

Phil Flynn, an analyst for Price Futures Group, said the governor had helped bring California wholesale gasoline prices down by more than a dollar, to $3.30 a gallon today.

Wholesale is what gasoline costs before federal, state and local taxes are added. California's wholesale price had been as high as $4.39 a gallon last week.

Others said Brown took too long to act.

"We had been predicting since early last week that California was about to face a potentially record-breaking spike in fuel prices," said Patrick DeHaan, senior energy analyst for GasBuddy.com

"What was the governor doing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before finally deciding to take action Sunday? DeHaan asked.

ALSO:

Stations close as gas prices soar

California gasoline hits new record, again

Gov. Brown takes emergency action to halt gas price rise

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