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Winter blend gasoline approved for sale a month early in an effort to curb rising gas prices

Gas Prices
Posted at 5:14 PM, Oct 04, 2022

Another day, another price increase at the pump.

"It's crazy. For the little Honda that I have it takes maybe about $80 to fill it up," said Victoria Morales, who is visiting the Central Coast from Fresno.

"We are used to high prices [in Europe] but now [I'm] surprised," said Paeol Mlej, who is visiting from Slovakia.

"Every day is a new record price," said Marie Montgomery, Automobile Club of Southern California spokesperson.

The California Air Resources Board approved the sale of winter-blend gasoline a month early upon Governor Gavin Newsom's request, and customers are hoping this will curb record-high prices.

"The winter blend of gasoline and summer blend of gasoline were developed several decades ago in response to air quality concerns," Montgomery explained.

The winter blend of gasoline has been sold for years in California. The main difference between winter and summer blends is that there is an ingredient in the winter blend called butane which is a cheaper ingredient than what is used in the summer blend. When burned in colder temperatures, it produces fewer harmful emissions.

The summer blend burns more cleanly in hotter temperatures, but it is also more expensive to produce.

"It doesn't have anything to do with negatively affecting your car or anything like that. It isn't like you have a choice. When you go to the gas pump, you're going to put in what's available to you right there," Montgomery said.

Customers are hoping the early sale of the winter blend curbs prices, but they're also thinking ahead.

"I mean hopefully at this point because I mean gas prices already are kind of outrageous so if it's something that's more mileage on my tank then I'm all for it. If not, it looks like everyone's going to start switching to electric," Morales said.

"In the future, gas is going to be gone and electric is the future is what I do believe," Mlej said.

Previously, the earliest winter blend gasoline could be sold was November 1, but it's an arbitrary date and shifting the date for the sale of winter-blend gasoline to October 1 shouldn't cause any major environmental problems experts say. The date is set mostly for logistical purposes at a time when temperatures are generally lower.

"The major pipeline that brings and distributes the gasoline to California gas stations is now in the process of switching over," Montgomery said.

AAA says they expect the winter blend to begin distribution soon and as soon as that winter blend starts being distributed, they expect prices to begin to drop.