Record-setting gas prices show California’s worsening energy vulnerabilities

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California is getting another reminder of the volatility of its energy supply as shutdowns at several oil refineries have sent gas prices soaring, including to all-time highs Monday in Los Angeles.

At least five plants have recently faced maintenance-related stoppages or slowdowns, limiting supplies of California’s special blend of gasoline mandated to reduce pollution.

And unlike the nationwide spike in gasoline costs this summer — driven by high oil prices and a surge in travel — the recent rise in gasoline prices is unique to California and some of its Western neighbors, underscoring yet again the fragility of the state’s transitioning energy markets.

While Gov. Gavin Newsom responded last week to the drastic increases in fuel costs by jump-starting the state’s shift to its cheaper, winter-blend gasoline, energy experts say it could still be weeks until drivers get some real relief at the pump.

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