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California gas prices hit record once again

– California motorists faced another day of record-breaking gasoline prices Sunday, although relief appeared to be on the way.

In its latest update early Sunday, AAA reported that statewide average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $4.655. Saturday’s average of $4.614 was the highest since June 19, 2008, when it was $4.6096.

The four-penny-per-gallon jump Sunday was less than Saturday’s increase, which was 12 cents.

Sunday’s price, like Saturday’s, was the highest in the nation, with the Golden State leapfrogging Hawaii as the state with the most expensive fuel due to a temporary reduction in supply. Californians are paying 24 cents per gallon more than motorists in Hawaii, according to the AAA report.

In some locations, fuming motorists paid $5 or more per gallon while station owners had to shut down pumps in others.

“I seriously thought it was a mistake on the sign when we pulled in,” said Nancy Garcia, 34, while filling her Honda Accord at a Chevron station in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park.

She paid $4.65 a gallon for regular grade and said she couldn’t afford to fill her tank all the way.

AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge report said the national average both Saturday and Sunday was about $3.81 a gallon, the highest ever for this time of year. However, gas prices in many other states have started decreasing, which is typical for October.

The dramatic surge came after a power outage Monday at a Southern California refinery that reduced supply in an already fragile and volatile market, analysts said, but the refinery came back online Friday and prices were expected to stabilize in the coming days.

Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, predicted the average price could peak as high as $4.85.

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