San Diego gas prices continue to skyrocket

Average in SD at $4.52, some areas at about $5

SAN DIEGO - The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County recorded what is believed to be its largest single-day increase Friday, rising 19.5 cents to $4.523, its highest amount since July 10, 2008.

The average price has risen for seven consecutive days, including 9.2 cents on Thursday and 5.8 cents on Wednesday, and is now 40.7 cents more than one week ago, 36.7 cents higher than one month ago and 70.9 cents greater than one year ago, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

The record price is $4.63, set on June 19, 2008.

In some areas of the county, customers are seeing prices beyond $5 after the nearly 20 cents spike overnight.

At one gas station in Santee, regular unleaded gas was $5.59 per gallon. Drivers said they are shocked by the increase.

"As far I'm concerned, I'm ready to quit work tomorrow because of the gas, and I'll go on Social Security," said Janet Keane. "I'll lose in one way, but I'm going to gain ... almost $800 month to stay home."

Another man said he had to do a double take once he got his receipt.

"Once I looked at the price I couldn't believe it, I had to look twice," he said. "It's crazy."

Some stations aren't buying the more expensive fuel. Others said they want to serve their customers but they're forced to raise the prices.

Another driver who was on his way to Long Beach said, he stopped pumping gas after noticing the prices.

"I'm not really trying to waste that much money," the driver said.

Relief from the increases may not come until Thanksgiving.

"Reportedly in recent weeks, local refineries were dropping production levels, exporting supply to Mexico and other countries, and allowing inventory to dwindle in anticipation of switching over to production of winter blend gasoline, then a refinery power outage and a pipeline incident occurred on Monday that sent wholesale markets into a panic about the adequacy of California fuel supplies," said Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Spring said "it's not clear" how much higher prices will go.

"A lot depends on whether the perceived supply issues are quickly addressed," he said.

Late Friday afternoon, the California Energy Commission said gas prices should decrease next week and the state has a sufficient supply to meet demand.

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