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Gas prices in California are declining; more relief could be on the way

Gas prices in California have been declining, albeit slowly, since drivers saw record-high prices in June and early October.

According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in the Golden State was $5.475 on Friday, 15 cents less than Thursday’s average of $5.49 per gallon.

The current average is also 93 cents cheaper than a month ago when California drivers were paying $6.41/gallon.

The trend can also be seen in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area where gas prices have dropped 96 cents over the past month. The current price average for residents in the L.A./Long Beach area is $5.529/gallon.

Californians are still paying much more than drivers in other states – almost $2 more per gallon than the national average of $3.792/gallon.

So, why are California drivers paying more for gas?

To help with the high cost of gas, Gov. Gavin Newsom authorized the California Air Resources Board to release the winter blend of gasoline before its Oct. 31 scheduled rollout with hopes of increasing the inventory and lowering prices.

The winter blend gasoline is cheaper to produce than the summer blend, which could equate to cheaper gas prices.

Newsom has blamed oil companies for “fleecing” California drivers, with gasoline prices rising disproportionately in the Golden State.

“The fact is, they’re ripping you off. Their record profits are coming at your expense,” Newsom said in a scathing video posted to Twitter. He also called for a new windfall tax on oil companies which would “ensure these profits go directly back to help millions of Californians who are paying for this oil company extortion.”

One oil company, Valero Energy Corp, responded to Newsom’s accusations, blaming the state’s rigorous environmental regulations and high refinery operating costs on why prices at the pump are so disproportionately.

“California policies have made it difficult to increase refining capacity and have prevented supply projects to lower operating costs of refineries,” Valero said in a statement.

While gas prices in California are higher than the national average, more relief could be on the way.

Patrick De Haan, the head of Petroleum Analysis at Gas Buddy, predicted that prices should return to the low $5 range by the end of November.

The state also began sending out the Middle-Class Tax Refund on Oct. 7 to help offset record-high inflation and gas prices.

Eligible Californians can receive up to $1,050.

Drivers could also get cheaper gas prices sooner by signing up for rewards programs that offer deals on gasoline. Companies like Ralphs, Exxon Mobile, and Vons offer gasoline reward programs to their customers.

Apps like GasBuddy, Waze, or Google Maps can also help drivers find the cheapest gas in the area.

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