California gas prices hit a four-year record $4.61 yesterday, reports the LA Times, but for those who blinked and missed it, prices hit another all-time high of $4.655 today, according to AAA. Yesterday's average of $4.6140 was the highest since June 19, 2008, when it was $4.6096. "We use the phrase `the perfect storm,' and this current one makes those other perfect storms look like a drizzle. I don't want to scare anyone, but this is a big problem," says an AAA analyst. "Run-outs are happening left and right."
Yesterday's price was the highest in the nation, with the Golden State leapfrogging Hawaii this week as the state with the most expensive fuel due to an outage at a refinery. Some 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," says one Los Angeles resident. AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge report said the national average was about $3.81 a gallon. A senior analyst at GasBuddy.com predicted the average price could peak as high as $4.85. "There is some relief in sight but probably not for a couple of days. Prices may climb before they start to come down," he said. (Read more gas prices stories.)