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Gas prices set a record in California

October 06, 2012|By Nancy Rivera Brooks
  • High gas prices are posted at a 76 gas station, foreground, and a Shell station, yesterday in Stevenson Ranch, Calif.
High gas prices are posted at a 76 gas station, foreground, and a Shell station,… (Jonathan Pobre / AP Photo/Santa…)

California’s average gasoline price set a record Saturday of $4.614 for a gallon of regular, up 12.8 cents overnight – but anyone who filled up in the last few days probably isn’t surprised. 

Gasoline prices skyrocketed after the Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance was knocked offline Monday by a power outage. Other lingering refinery and pipeline problems also contributed to the soaring costs at the pump.

Several service stations are charging more than $5 a gallon for regular gasoline. Some have stopped selling gas because they don’t want to pay the high wholesale price, which reached a record Thursday but eased somewhat on Friday.

Why are gas prices so high?

Saturday’s record, as measured by AAA’s daily fuel price survey, replaces the old record of $4.610 set in 2008. If it’s any comfort, and it probably isn’t, that's only a nominal record because when adjusted for inflation, the old record equals $4.93 in 2012 dollars.

Analysts say prices might begin leveling off next week as fuel traders digest the news that the Exxon refinery returned to service on Friday. But other refinery difficulties and maintenance could keep California’s prices significantly above those in other parts of the nation.

Around the state, Los Angeles drivers were paying an average $4.661, Orange County’s average was $4.650 and San Francisco was at $4.689.

ALSO:

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Economists warn about the effect of soaring prices

Honda announces third large recall of the week -- 268,000 CR-Vs

Twitter: @NRiveraBrooksLA

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