By Rock Mayock 11:00 p.m. | Fall officially started on September 22, 2012, however you would never know if you have recently visited your local gas station. Since early September fuel prices have continuously met or exceeded their seasonally high Summertime prices. For those of us who call California our home we have all felt the pain at the pump. To help our wonderful readers weather this financial storm during these already tough economic times, here is the FOOTBALLPHDS’ question and answer survival guide for skyrocketing fuel prices.
WTF! It cost me $55 to fill up my freaking Civic! I commute from La Habra to Oceanside and can’t afford the gas. Tony from La Habra
Tony, without a doubt you have felt the pain at the pump and as SoCal residents we empathize with your financial situation. Between September 29 and October 8 the average cost for a gallon of 87 octane regular unleaded gas has jumped from $4.14 to $4.67, or nearly 13%. Therefore the cost to fill up your typically fuel sipping Civic (assuming a 12 gallon fuel capacity) has increased from $49.68 to $56.04. Our recommendation is to find a carpool partner. The good news is that Civic is a chick magnet. You should have no problem finding an attractive carpool partner that can get you into the HOV lane and help pay for gas. Score!
Are gas prices so high because of The Man trying to keep me down? Manny in Los Osos
No Manny, it is inordinately difficult for “The Man” to tamper with gas prices in a consumer driven market. Fuel prices are a function of supply and demand. Over the past couple of weeks there has been a convergence of unforeseen events that have depleted available refined gas supply. These events include a fire at the Chevron Richmond refinery, the closing of the Kettleman-Los Medanos pipeline due to organic chloride contamination and the temporary shut down of the ExxonMobil Torrance refinery due to a power outage. Combine these factors together and approximately 477,000 barrels of daily refining capacity was lost. Our recommendation to combat fuel shortages is to stop being so dependent upon gasoline. Buy a bicycle, use the Metro Link system or walk to work (if possible). The best way to give Big Oil a giant middle finger is to stop buying their products.
What is the difference between Summer and Winter fuel blends and why should I care? Gerald in Roseville
Great question Gerald. The California Air Resources Board, aka CARB, has mandated that California based refineries switch between Summer and Winter blend fuels to help reduce emissions. Summer grade fuel tends to be clean burning due to a lower RVP value and higher concentration of denatured ethanol. This particular blend is believed to prevent excess evaporation in higher temperatures. As the weather cools refineries switch to Winter grade fuels. Winter grade fuel has a higher RVP value and the inclusion of cheap additives such as butane to assist with combustion. These additives are cheap to produce and tend to burn “dirty” however the blend of fuel is generally cheaper. Gas prices tend to spike as refineries deplete their inventories of Summer blend fuel. Likewise, prices tend to drop as inventories of cheap Winter grade fuels are released. Therefore Governor Brown’s recent directive to release Winter grade fuel reserves ahead of schedule is intended to artificially promote a downward trend in gas prices.
Why is gas so damned expensive in California? Gas is always cheaper when me and my old lady go to Vegas. What’s the deal? Peter from Ventura
You can blame California’s inordinately high gasoline prices on your State legislature. Californians are the lucky beneficiaries of the highest at the pump taxes in the Nation. The average American pays $0.493 per gallon in state/local/federal gas tax. Californians pay $0.689 per gallon in state/local/federal sales tax. This is an effective 40% increase in per gallon fuel tax paid by Californians. If you would like to your Governor, legislators and assemblymen/assemblywomen to do something about gas prices then demand they repeal California’s exorbitant fuel taxes. If that’s too much work then spend the afternoon playing World of Warcraft.
I need relief at the pump. Porn and beer ain’t cheap. Frank from Fontana
Frank, you’re right. Neither good porn nor good beer are cheap however both are worthy investments. We can expect incremental price relief when the refinery shutdowns are resolved and Winter grade fuels reserves are released. Ultimately you need to gird your loins for expensive gas. We are rapidly approaching the point where $4.50+ per gallon fuel is going to be the new normal so get used to it. Our recommendation is to opt for slightly cheaper brew and deciding if you’re going to cancel either your Bang Bros or Brazzers subscription.