It seems as if Californians are finally getting tired of high gas prices. The average price for a gallon of gas in the “Golden State” was $5.93 per gallon last week — about 55% higher than the national average, according to AAA data. That was actually down slightly from the week before when prices spiked above $6 a gallon. 

In an effort to increase fuel supplies, California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently asked the state’s energy commission and air resources board to allow an early transition to winter-blend gasoline. If prices remain elevated, “it may cause unacceptable cost impacts for consumers and small businesses, significant economic disruption and serious harm to public safety and welfare.”

That’s about the most sensible thing I’ve ever seen come out of California. It’s just too bad it took gas prices above $6 to open the eyes of politicians and regulators whose policies keep prices artificially high. 

The Renewable Fuels Association pointed that out last week. California is one of only two states in the country that still don’t allow the use of lower-carbon E15 blends, despite the state’s focus on reducing carbon emissions in its economy. “California is woefully — and inexplicably — behind the rest of the nation” in approving E15, which “reduces both harmful tailpipe pollutants and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. Based on the California Air Resources Board’s own data, replacing E10 blends with E15 in California in 2022 would have resulted in additional greenhouse gas savings of 2.2 billion metric tons, he noted. 

Maybe the shock of seeing $6 gas will be the trigger that finally prompts the state to allow its consumers to realize the E15 benefits that the rest of us already enjoy.