SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County again rose to a record high Monday, but the increase of 1.3 cents to $4.725 may indicate that prices will soon fall.
The increase was the smallest during a six-day span that has seen the price rise 54.7 cents, including 3.8 cents on Sunday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.
The average price has set records for three consecutive days and is 56.3 cents more than one week ago, 56.6 cents higher than one month ago and 92.7 cents greater than one year ago.
Gov. Jerry Brown's order Sunday directing the California Air Resources Board to immediately allow oil refineries to make an early transition to winter-blend gasoline, which isn't typically sold until Nov. 1, and the resumption of operations at ExxonMobil's Torrance refinery are expected to add to the supply of gasoline.
The record prices are the result of whole markets going "into a panic about the adequacy of California fuel supplies" following a power failure at the Torrance refinery and closure of a Chevron pipeline that moves crude oil to Northern California, said Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California.
Prior to the incidents last Monday, local refiners dropped production levels, exported supply to Mexico and other countries and allowed inventory to dwindle in anticipation of switching over to production of winter blend gasoline, Spring said.
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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.
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.
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, analysts said. 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 before coming back down.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.