For immediate release: September 27, 2000
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989

California Energy Commission Update:
California Gasoline & Diesel Supplies

Sacramento -- The price of regular gasoline at the pump in California remained steady at $1.83 a gallon for the past week. Nationally for the week ending September 25, 2000, the average price of regular dropped one cent to $1.55 a gallon.

The big news for the week was crude oil prices. Between September 18 and September 26, the price of crude oil from Alaska's North Slope plummeted $5.38 from its record-setting high of $35.29 a barrel. Yesterday Alaskan crude -- the source of 30 percent of California's oil supply -- sold for $29.91.

Over the weekend, the federal government announced the release of up to 30 million barrels of crude oil from the United States' Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The move was expected to lower crude oil prices by about a dollar a barrel.

Three factors have been driving higher gasoline prices this year: the cost of crude, growing consumer demand, and gasoline supplies from the refineries.

On the demand side, the State Board of Equalization reports that gasoline use in California increased for the first half of this year. In comparison to 1999, their figures show that gross taxable gasoline sales were up nearly 3 percent for the first half of 2000, even before the summer driving season began. If this trend continues, California will probably consume about 15 billion gallons of gasoline this year -- up from 14.2 billion gallons in 1999.

Gasoline production averaged nearly 968,300 barrels a day for the week ending September 22, 2000. Production dipped 4.5 percent from the week before, as some refineries began their yearly scheduled maintenance. Production is still up 3 percent from a year ago. Refiners typically draw down their inventories, import gasoline and purchase extra supplies to cover production declines during maintenance periods.

On September 25, the average rack, or wholesale, price of California regular inched up a half cent to $1.28 a gallon in the State. That price is still 27 cents lower than the year's highest wholesale price of $1.55, reached on September 7, 2000.

Spot market prices continued to decline. On September 18, 2000, spot prices were $1.24 in Southern and Northern California. By September 25, 2000, spot prices in both markets had dropped to $1.19 in the Southland and $1.21 in the Bay area.

Diesel Fuel

Record high diesel prices continued their slow retreat this week, dropping an average of two cents across the State.

On September 25, 2000, the average retail price of CARB diesel in Northern California was $1.93 a gallon, off 12 cents from the high established on September 5. Truck stops in Central California reported average prices of $1.88 a gallon, an 11-cent drop, while prices at Southern California stations averaged $1.93 a gallon -- a four-cent decline from this month's high.

Output of California Reformulated Diesel for the week ending September 22, 2000, was approximately 168,000 barrels a day-- a production increase of 9 percent from the previous week. Diesel inventories remain down nearly 17 percent from the same time last year.

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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.On our Web Site, you can sign onto a listserver to receive this and other press releases automatically by e-mail.

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