California Air Resources Board Orders Shift to Winter-Grade Fuel

The move is part of an effort to bring down gasoline prices.

September 29, 2023

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) said it had relaxed the state’s RVP standards, a day after Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the step in an effort to bring down gasoline prices.

Winter-grade gasoline is typically priced below summer grade. California typically requires the use of summer grade fuel through October.

CARB’s order permits an early an immediate transition to winter-grade gasoline and the agency said it is allowing the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of the fuel.

The waiver will extend through October.

“The gasoline market in California is currently experiencing very high prices for reasons that the California Energy Commission is examining,” said CARB in an advisory, “which may include an unusual spot market transaction, refinery maintenance and undersupply, and global crude oil prices.”

Fox Business reported this week that gas prices in California are nearing $7 per gallon for regular, citing refinery outages as the primary reason.

“In light of the price spikes, we should not wait until the end of the month to start distributing or to ramp up production of our winter-blend gasoline,” Newsom said in a letter to the Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission. “Allowing refiners to make an early transition to winter-blend gasoline could quickly increase fuel supply and provide critical liquidity on the spot market, and act as a much-needed safety valve.”