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California drivers may have to wait until November to see any relief at the pump, analysts say.The state’s gas prices surged 17 cents last night and have spiked 36 cents in the past week.
A confluence of factors have caused Golden State gas prices to jump, including refinery outages and pipeline disruptions.
But the most persistent driver has been the government’s mandate that summer blend gasoline be sold through Oct. 31, AAA analyst Avery Ash told us by phone.
Wholesalers have begun petitioning the EPA for waivers to switch to winter blends for some early relief, he said.
Without that relief, prices could top the state’s 2008 record of $4.61 early next week.
GasBuddy.com’s Gregg Laskoski told us prices could average between $4.70 and $4.85 per gallon.
California consumers will likely cut back on things like movies and dining out to make up the difference, he said.
Diesel prices have not been affected, he added.
Independently owned gas stations are going to be hit hardest, since many must buy unbranded gasoline on spot markets, he said. Wholesaler Valero has already stopped selling on spot markets, DowJones reported.
CostCo has already shuttered some of its stations.
“If I’m an independent station, am I going to purchase significantly higher wholesale costs and taking a loss on those sales, or sell at a price my consumers are not willing to pay? That’s why some say ‘we’re not selling’.”