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SoCal Lawmaker Calls For Waiver To Help Curb Skyrocketing Gas Prices

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(CBS) Tom Reopelle
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CHULA VISTA (CBSLA.com) — A state lawmaker from the Southland on Friday urged the governor of California to help slow the sharp rise in gas prices statewide.

KNX 1070′s Tom Reopelle reports the request comes after what is believed to be the largest gas price increase within a 24-hour period.

State Senator Juan Vargas of Chula Vista strongly urged Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a waiver that would allow the immediate use and production of winter-grade gas throughout the state.

A similar waiver (PDF) requested by the of California Independent Oil Marketers Association (CIOMA) and the California Service Station and Auto Repair Association (CSSARA) was under consideration by the California Air Resources Board.

That request calls for the allowance for the sale and manufacture of what analysts call the “winter blend,” which burns cleaner at cooler temperatures.

The letter warns California “summer blend” fuel requirements – which remain in effect through the end of October – could cause “possible fuel supply disruptions”.

Vargas said environmental communities pose the biggest obstacle to getting any waiver approved.

“There is push-back by some of the environmental communities, saying, ‘You shouldn’t do this, it’ll cause a lot of problems’,” said Vargas. “Well, the truth of the matter is it won’t cause that many problems.”

The average cost for a gallon of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline in Southern California went up to $4.53 in the greater Los Angeles area on Friday.

While any waiver would only be a temporary solution, Vargas believes it would be sufficent to ease some of the upward pressure gas prices are currently experiencing.

“We’re not saying waive it for the whole summer, we’re not saying that we shouldn’t do this at all,” he said. “We’re in a shortage, let’s grant this waiver, let’s allow the refineries to produce this gasoline, let’s get those prices down.”

According to state guidelines, winter-blend may be sold throughout California starting Nov. 1.

Officials with the state Energy Commission said that Air Resources officials have jurisdiction over deciding how to proceed.

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