California gas prices hit record high

People fill up their tanks with gasoline at a Costco Gas Station in Carlsbad, California.(Reuters / Mike Blake)
California gas prices hit a record high of $4.655 on Sunday after rising nearly 42 cents per gallon in a year. Some stations have stopped selling gas until it becomes more affordable, while others charged more than $5 per gallon.

California prices rose nearly 13 cents overnight Saturday and an additional 4.1 cents overnight Sunday – a sharp spike that lifted the national average to $3.79 cents per gallon – the highest ever for this time of year, reported AAA.

“In most cities around the country, pump prices dropped as lower crude oil prices made their wall all the way to the pump,” Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the Lundberg Survey, which surveyed gas prices in the lower 48 states, told CNN.

But California’s prices began to surge after an Exxon Mobile refinery in Torrance suffered a power outage last Monday. As costs began to rise, state residents started to think twice about hitting the road.

“I think $5 is kind of hitting the limit,” driver Genoush Tunian told CBS Los Angeles. And that limit was surpassed at a station in Long Beach, which charged customers $6.65 per gallon of regular gasoline.

California’s average fuel price is now the most expensive in the nation, surpassing other expensive states like Hawaii ($4.412 per gallon), Alaska ($4.174) and New York ($4.130). California is among only six states were the average price of gas falls above $4.

The state’s previous record was $4.610, set in 2008.

The powerless Exxon Mobile refinery had its electricity come back on Friday, causing home among California residents that prices will go back down. Senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan predicted at that the average price may peak at $4.85 before declining.

Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California said that in addition to the refinery’s power outage, local refineries were also dropping production levels, exporting supplies to Mexico and other countries and allowing inventory to diminish by preparing to switch to production of winter blend gasoline.

It’s not clear how much more prices will rise, and “a lot depends on whether the perceived supply issues are quickly addressed,” he told NBC News.

In the meantime, the state is host to angry drivers whose bank accounts are suffering at the pumps.

“This is ridiculous,” taxi driver Edgar Marutyan said. “I don’t know how long we can go on like this.”