According to a Los Angeles Times article, California Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) have called for a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into California’s high gas prices. In one week, the per gallon price of gas jumped 50 cents. Fuel analysts attribute the increase to an oil pipeline problem, maintenance procedures, and refinery mishaps.
According to Feinstein, Tesoro Corp. was short of supply last week and fuel sellers required the company to pay near-record wholesale prices. These were passed on to consumers. Interestingly, fuel stocks are near normal.
While Feinstein called on FTC, Boxer called on the Justice Department to look into the price hikes. “Californians have too often been victimized as unscrupulous traders have created or taken advantage of supply disruptions to drive up energy prices,” Boxer was quoted in the LA Times.
On Oct. 1, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in California was $4.168 a gallon, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, and is the highest ever recorded for that day of the year. Since then prices have gone up and as a result, the California Air Resources Board approved the early use of winter fuel blends, which are cheaper than summer fuel blends.
With this announcement, California Advanced Energy Coalition urged the California Air Resources Board to refine fuel regulations in a way that would encourage the use of more low-cost and cleaner-burning fuels, such as ethanol.
“We believe with focus and urgency, dictated by chronically high gasoline prices, California’s regulations should be immediately amended to allow for increased ethanol, in a manner that enhances air quality and lowers gasoline prices,” said Eric McAfee, chief executive of Aemetis Inc., an advanced biofuel producer in Cupertino, Calif., and a member of the coalition.