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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- State air pollution regulators say they do not expect California's air quality to worsen appreciably after the governor ordered the release of a dirtier blend of gasoline to help slash record-high pump prices.

The California Air Resources Board on Monday said the last time the state made an early shift to so-called winter-blend gasoline was in 2005, in response to supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina.

AAA said the average price for a gallon of regular hit $4.668 Monday in California -- the highest price in the nation.

Officials said it could take days before prices fall, depending on how quickly refineries can get the winter-blend fuel to market.

California usually converts to the gas on Oct. 31. The fuel evaporates in heat more quickly than summer-blends.

A fuel's evaporation rate indicates how much raw fuel enters the environment, especially in warm weather.

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