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For Immediate Release: November 18, 2005
Contact: Claudia Chandler - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission report details reasons
behind record-breaking gas prices

Sacramento - Destruction of oil rigs and refineries in the Gulf Coast by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita led to unprecedented price spikes in U.S. transportation fuel costs this summer. California average retail gasoline prices increased 29 cents a gallon in a single week.

A report released today by the California Energy Commission details how California wholesale gasoline prices rose sharply in conjunction with nationwide market prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). Crude oil prices, on the other hand, did not substantially affect retail prices in California. California gets approximately 42 percent of its crude oil supply from in state, 22 percent from Alaska's North Slope, and the remaining 36 percent from foreign sources.

The report, 2005 Gasoline Price Movements in California, also shows that refinery shutdowns in the Los Angeles area caused by electrical outages, fuel imports into California that were diverted to other U. S. markets, and higher than normal exports of fuel to Arizona helped to drive prices to record levels. California regular gasoline averaged $3.06 a gallon for the week ending September 5, 2005. This week, the statewide average retail price for regular dropped to $2.58 a gallon.

Energy Commission Chairman Joseph Desmond announced the report's findings in a Web news conference this morning. The on-line presentation, recorded news conference and report are all available at the Energy Commission' s Web site at www.energy.ca.gov/consumerfuels.

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