For immediate release: August 30, 2000
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989

California Energy Commission Update:
California Gasoline & Diesel Supplies

Sacramento -- Crude oil prices reached their highest levels since the end of June, diesel prices in California set all-time records highs, and the price of regular gasoline rose three cents over the past week, averaging $1.70 a gallon at the pump.

Escalating crude oil prices have driven up fuel costs worldwide. On June 31, 2000, Alaskan crude oil -- the source of nearly a third of California's oil supply -- reached its all-time high of $32.80 per barrel. This week, Alaskan crude climbed once again to over $31 a barrel.

Tight supplies and high demand drove the average retail price of CARB diesel to $2.00 a gallon in Northern California on Monday, its highest price ever. Central California diesel prices averaged $1.90, while truck stops in Southern California reported average prices of $1.87 a gallon.

Demand for diesel historically increases in the spring and autumn when farmers begin planting and harvesting, and this year the need for diesel has been especially high. Some utilities reportedly purchased supplies for backup generation of electricity following the explosion of a natural gas pipeline in New Mexico. Unfounded rumors fueled speculation in the marketplace as well, which helped to further drive up prices.

Higher diesel prices also reflect small production problems that plagued some refineries. There have also been logistical difficulties in the transportation and distribution system.

Production of California Reformulated Diesel for the week ending August 25, 2000, was approximately 191,000 barrels a day -- an increase of nearly 4 percent over this time last year. Diesel inventories were up nearly 10 percent from the week before, and any remaining production and logistics problems should be overcome by the end of the week.

The average rack, or wholesale, price of regular gasoline in California reached $1.31 on August 25, its highest price since mid-March 2000. Although the wholesale average price of CARB regular has increased $.23 since the beginning of August, retail prices have risen only three cents.

Gasoline production in California for the week ending August 25 averaged 953,000 barrels a day, a 1.8 percent drop from the week before. Supplies of gasoline for motorists, however, should be plentiful for the Labor Day weekend. Traditionally, the holiday marks the end of the summer driving season; after the holiday, demand for gasoline should begin to drop.

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If you have questions about gasoline and diesel supplies and prices in California, please call us at (916) 654-4989. More detailed information on California's gasoline and diesel supplies and prices can be found on the California Energy Commission's Web Site at:

For money-saving and gas-saving consumer tips, go to this Web address:

Editor's Note: The California Energy Commission provides this type of information weekly to keep you apprised of the gasoline situation over the summer months.

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