For immediate release: September 6, 2000
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989

California Energy Commission Update:
California Gasoline & Diesel Supplies

Sacramento -- High demand for gasoline over the holiday weekend, coupled with tight supplies and near-record crude oil prices, caused California gasoline prices to climb an average of nine cents last week.

The statewide average retail price of regular gasoline jumped to $1.79 for the week ending September 1.

Over the Labor Day Weekend, industry watchers in California reported gasoline prices that topped $2.10 a gallon in some areas. Retail prices varied by as much as $.25 a gallon from station to station in the same locale, leading the Energy Commission to urge motorists to shop around for the lowest-priced fuel.

Nationally, retail gasoline prices rose five cents, bringing the average for regular across the country to $1.53.

Gasoline production in California for the week ending September 1 averaged more than 963,000 barrels a day, a one percent increase over the week before.

The average rack, or wholesale, price of California regular reached $1.48 on September 5, the highest wholesale price of the year. Although the wholesale average price of CARB regular has increased $.41 since the beginning of August, the average retail price has risen only 12 cents.

Surplus supplies of gasoline are sold on the spot market. When spot prices are higher than wholesale prices, it indicates a tight supply of gasoline. On September 5, spot prices reached $1.61 in Southern California and $1.52 in Northern California, a situation that helped to explain why independent stations were often charging higher prices for fuel than branded stations.

Diesel Fuel

The price of diesel set new State records. On September 1, 2000, tight supplies and high demand drove the average retail price of CARB diesel to $2.05 a gallon in Northern California. Central California diesel prices averaged $1.98, while truck stops in Southern California reported average prices of $1.95 a gallon.

High diesel prices also reflect production problems that plagued some refineries. Production of California Reformulated Diesel for the week ending September 1, 2000, was approximately 154,000 barrels a day -- a decrease of more than 29 percent from this time last year. Diesel inventories were down nineteen percent from the same time last year.

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.

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. Yesterday, Alaskan crude climbed once again to $32.24 a barrel.

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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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