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For Immediate Release: May 3, 2006
Media Contact: Rob Schlichting - 916-654-4989

Gasoline, diesel production continues upward trend in California

Sacramento-California refineries produced more gasoline and diesel fuel last week than the week before, even as wholesale and spot prices for gasoline climbed to new highs and retail prices set records.

For the week ending Monday, May 1, 2006, California's average retail price for regular reached $3.20 a gallon, an increase of more than 13 cents from the previous week. This week's price bests the previous record, adjusted for inflation to 2005 dollars, of $3.08 set in 1981. The national average retail price for the week increased only half a cent, to $2.92 a gallon.

Production of reformulated gasoline for use only in California averaged 953,286 barrels a day for the week ending April 28, 2006. That represents a 1.3 percent increase over the previous week, but was 5.4 percent below production figures for a year ago, according to the Weekly Fuels Watch Report issued today by the California Energy Commission.

Inventories of California reformulated gasoline decreased 2.7 percent for the week and were 13.1 percent below last year's figures.

A run up of spot prices for gasoline late last week may be attributable to delayed imports of gasoline coming into California ports. When expected supplies did not arrive as expected, some refiners were forced to buy supplies to fulfill contractual obligations, which helped to drive up prices.

California diesel remained a bright spot as production jumped 18.6 percent above the previous week's output, besting last year's production by 7.6 percent. CARB diesel inventories remained strong, increasing 8.1 percent for the week. They are now 44.6 percent more abundant than at this time last year. Diesel demand increases in the spring as farmers begin planting crops, but wet weather delayed the start of the planting season in some areas.

The price of crude oil on the world market continued to set records and drive up fuel prices. Alaska North Slope crude, which makes up 20 percent of California's crude oil supply, set a new record of $72.88 a barrel on May 2, 2006. One year ago, Alaska North Slope crude oil was selling for $47.82 a barrel.

The entire Weekly Fuels Watch Report can be seen on the Energy Commission's Web site at

www.energy.ca.gov/database/fore/

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