Gas hits all-time high

Bulletin wire reports /


It’s a record, though just barely.

The price of gasoline has hit an all-time average high in California of $4.6140 a gallon, fueled by a reduced supply and a volatile market.

AAA spokesman Michael Green says Saturday’s price set the record by a fraction of a penny.

The previous high was $4.6096 on June 19, 2008.

Prices throughout the state are expected to increase for several more days before leveling off, after a temporary reduction in supply triggered a price spike.

AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge report released Saturday said the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded across California rose 12 cents from its Friday mark of about $4.49.

The Golden State has leapfrogged Hawaii as the state with the most expensive fuel.

Reports surfaced Saturday of service-station owners who stopped selling fuel, while economists pondered whether the price jump would affect consumers’ holiday shopping plans.

Gas pumps at some Costco Wholesale Corp. stores were shut down rather than pay high prices for wholesale fuel. Prices were beginning to come down in some spots, but it wasn’t clear whether that trend would continue.

Economists are concerned that a sustained spike in gas prices would start to eat into other areas of consumers’ budgets. Esmael Adibi, a Chapman University economist, said, “If it continues into the holiday shopping season, it will definitely have a negative impact on discretionary spending.”

Prices were even higher in the San Francisco Bay Area, where a gallon of gas usually costs more than in the rest of the state. Prices touched $4.70 and in some places exceeded the $5 mark, the website says.