(Aug. 12, 2005) -- As of this morning (Aug. 12) at 3:00 a.m., the American Automobile Association indicates unleaded gasoline in the L.A.-LB area is now at an all time record, averaging roughly $2.716 per gallon, with midgrade at $2.892 and premium at $2.939.
And there's no relief in sight.
As reported by Reuters (linked on our front page, www.lbreport.com, upper right corner) at dawn this morning, crude oil was also in record territory at over $66/barrel.
A month ago, LB-LA area unleaded was averaging $2.555 per gallon.
A year ago, it had just broken $2/gallon ($2.09 per gallon).
As previously reported by LBReport.com, Californians continue to pay more than the national average for gasoline due in part to federal clean-air rules reformulated gasoline...which are arguably having neutral or counter-productive results.
CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fared no better than recalled Gov. Gray Davis in getting the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive rules on reformulated gasoline that Schwarzenegger and Davis both said could produce cleaner air as well as help moderate CA gasoline pump prices.
And Congress, which is in Republican hands and ultimately controls the EPA, also failed to provide CA with the complete waiver via the recently-passed Energy bill. Farm states (which grow corn for ethanol) opposed a complete waiver...and Congress ultimately provided CA with only partial relief in summer months.
In a written release, Gov. Schwarzenegger said the Energy bill "holds many victories for California" and "exempts California from ethanol mandates during the summer months and makes fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles more attractive to consumers."
But Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, said:
The bill has an egregious 7.5 billion gallon mandate for ethanol. My State does not need the fuel additive to meet clean air standards. I would like to thank the conferees for retaining an amendment I offered to protect California ís air quality. It waives the requirement that California use ethanol in the summer months when it can end up polluting the air more than protecting it. However, I believe that this mandate will raise gas prices for Californians. So far, ethanol in California ís gasoline has increased the cost of our gasoline by 4 to 8 cents per gallon. Further, the ethanol mandate maintains the 54 cent per gallon import duty that prevents oil producers from buying ethanol on the global market, or wherever it is cheapest.
Moreover, ethanol receives a tax credit of 51 cents per gallon. A 7.5 billion gallon mandate means an almost $2 billion LOSS to the U.S. Treasury over todayís receipts. I believe this mandate is an unnecessary giveaway.
In addition, increasing the use of ethanol will not decrease our use of oil. When this mandate is fully implemented in 2012 it will only reduce U.S. oil consumption by less than one-half of one percent. I believe this is bad public policy and that it is an unnecessary, costly mandate that should not be in the energy bill.