Gov. Jerry Brown is taking action in an effort to drive down the cost of gasoline as California drivers cope with record-breaking prices at the pump.
For the third straight day Monday, the statewide average price for a gallon of regular rose to an all-time high, hitting $4.668, according to AAA, up 86¢ (or 22 percent) in a year and 12 percent in a week, as Zero Hedge notes.
“It seems yet another weekend of hyperinflating gas prices has pushed the until-now seemingly uncaring-at-the-margin gasoline-’user’ to seek out rationally lowest prices,” the Hedge report adds.
That topped Sunday’s price of $4.655 and Saturday’s price of $4.6140, which broke the previous record high of $4.6096 per gallon set on June 19, 2008.
Due to a temporary reduction in supply, California gas prices in recent days have surpassed those in Hawaii to become the highest in the nation.
Brown on Sunday ordered state smog regulators to allow winter-blend gasoline to be sold in California earlier than usual to bring down prices. Winter-blend gas typically isn’t sold until after October 31. Few refineries outside the state are currently making summer-blend gas, putting the pressure on already-taxed California manufacturers.
In some locations, fuming motorists paid $5 or more per gallon while station owners had to shut down pumps in others.
“Credit card caps at pumps are also causing problems as the typical SUV-driving soccer-mom needs multiple lines to fill up the family people-mover,” the Hedge reports.
A station in Long Beach had California’s priciest gas at $6.65 for a gallon of regular, according to GasBuddy.com. Meanwhile customers at an outlet in San Pablo paid just $3.49, the lowest price in the state.
The average for a gallon of regular was $4.69 in Los Angeles, $4.71 in San Diego and San Francisco, $4.55 in Sacramento and $4.90 in Santa Barbara, according to GasBuddy.com.
The dramatic surge came after a power outage Monday at a Southern California refinery that reduced supply in an already fragile and volatile market. The refinery came back online Friday and state officials are praying prices will soon stabilize.
Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, predicted the average price could peak as high as $4.85 before coming back down.
Final Thought: While California has certainly been hit the hardest, the steady increase in the price of gasoline has affected everyone in the U.S.
In fact, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a combination of tougher laws and high gas prices has actually led to a steep, nationwide decline in teenage drunk driving.
So, hey, at least there’s that, right?
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The Associated Press contributed to this report. Front page photo courtesy the AP.