California- AAA estimates that gas prices should soon stabalize. The state average is $4.67 a gallon, following the highest ever recorded prices. California is now starting to see an end to soaring prices, as major disruptions in the refinery supply chain get resolved throughout the state. Northern California gas prices rose over 50 cents in one month, in some parts of the region.
For perspective, the state's average is 86 cents more than California's average price on this date last year. Among all 50 states, California has the highest state average price for regular, unleaded gasoline. Hawaii is the second at $4.41.
"Surging California gas prices made national headlines last week, due to a Monday power outage at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, California, which sent wholesale gas prices through the roof," says AAA Northern spokesperson Cynthia Harris in a Tuesday news release. "Our already low gasoline supplies, approaching the October 31 end to summer-blend gasoline requirements, and combination of tight supply issues on the West Coast caused prices to skyrocket at the pump for consumers."
On Friday afternoon, ExxonMobil announced that the refinery in Torrance had resumed normal operation, but California motorists were already feeling the pain at the pump. Over the weekend, California Governor Jerry Brown directed the California Air Resources Board to grant a waiver allowing the sale of winter-grade gasoline to help ease supply issues. Typically, the winter blend isn't allowed to be used in most areas of California until the end of October. Some analysts have indicated that the waiver will provide relief from supply concerns related to summer-grade gasoline. Others have cautioned that there will not be an immediate impact on supplies, as refineries cannot quickly transition to producing the new blend of gasoline.
Wholesale gasoline prices in California have already started to lower, with the return of production at the Torrance refinery and the issuance of the gasoline waiver. This suggests that, barring additional regional issues, retail prices in California will also move lower in the coming days.