Our View: Cleaner blend of gas also cleans out pockets
Published: Sunday, October 14, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 14, 2012 18:10
When the needle shifts to empty and the light blinks on, it’s time to visit the place many Californians wish not to go — the gas station.
While California gas prices have slowly dipped by a penny per day since last week’s massive spike, they are still abnormally high for October.
Gas prices throughout California skyrocketed by an average of 50 cents with gas exceeding $5 at some locations.
Of course, this sent many into a frenzy as they made their way to the pumps to top off their tanks so they could avoid the growing gas prices later.
Considering many of us commute to Cal State Long Beach, we are hit hard when gas prices spike.
Even though high gas prices are nothing new to us, they always seem to affect our lives in one way or another. It is already tough to balance our budgets as it is, especially when owning a car.
The recent gas price spike could be attributed to recent refinery disruptions, namely a fire at the Chevron Richmond plant in August and a one-day power outage at another Southern California location.
Before the fire, the Richmond plant produced 15 percent of the state’s demands. A shutdown at this location has been extremely disruptive.
The gas price spike came a few weeks before California’s seasonal switch to a cheaper blend of gasoline.
The summer blend, which is part of the Reformulated Gasoline Program, burns cleaner during the peak summer months when Californians use more gas.
However, this blend is much more expensive to produce, so naturally we’re digging deeper into our wallets when it’s put on the menu.
During the winter, when there are less road trips and the threat to destroying our ozone has diminished, California switches to a cheaper, less clean winter blend.
While law requires that the winter blend be withheld until late October, the state may want to consider moving the winter blend up a few weeks, especially if the trend of gas price spiking continues in early October.
The main threat to the ozone layer only exists from June 1 to Sept. 15, so bump the cheaper blend release date up, we say.
This special clean-burning California gas causes us to become susceptible to gas spikes when our refineries shut down.
Unless the federal government lays down more regulation for other states to clean up their gas like California, we will be living on our own little gas island.
The thing is, we shot ourselves in the foot when it comes to the California blend.
We are the only state to have such a blend because our smog is the worst in the country.
We have more people, more cars and more traffic contributing to choking amounts of air pollution. Not to mention the many refineries and factories polluting the air as well.
Maybe the best option is to allow California to use dirtier gas in the case of a crisis like a refinery shutdown. A dirty gas reserve could help curve gas price spikes in the future.