Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. ordered the state's California Air Resources Board (CARB) to move to allow refineries to make winter-blend gas. The action normally does not occur until October 31.
Brown's office released its letter on the matter:
October 7, 2012
Mary Nichols, Chairman
California Air Resources Board
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95812
California is temporarily experiencing tight gasoline supplies that are causing dramatic spikes in the price consumers must pay to fuel their vehicles. Gas prices in the State have set new record highs, and gas is completely unavailable at some stations in southern California. If this situation continues, it may cause unacceptable price impacts for consumers and small businesses, significant economic disruption, and serious harm to public safety and welfare.
California refiners are required to produce a summer-blend gasoline through October in most areas of the State. After October 31, a winter-blend gasoline is allowed. Due to the composition of the gasoline, refiners can produce more of the winter-blend than the summer-blend.
In light of the tight gasoline supplies and resulting price spikes, we should not wait until the end of the month to start production of our winter-blend gasoline. Allowing refiners to make an early transition to winter-blend gasoline could quickly increase fuel supply and provide a much needed safety valve with negligible air quality impacts. Accordingly, I am directing that the Air Resources Board immediately take whatever steps are necessary to allow for an early transition to winter-blend gasoline to be manufactured, imported, distributed, and sold in California.
Edmund G. Brown Jr.
Douglas A. McIntyre