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California gas prices on verge of shattering records

Stunned, reeling and outraged. That was the mood of California drivers as gas prices approached record levels after double-digit increases Thursday and again Friday.

“I don’t even want to look at the prices anymore as I drive by gas stations,” said Melinda Vargas, of San Leandro. “But then I can’t help myself and take a peek.”

Then she really gets depressed. A Shell station off Interstate 880 listed gas for $4.69 a gallon, more than 50 cents higher than a week earlier.

The state’s record average of $4.61 could be shattered any day. With refinery problems reducing inventories to their lowest level in 10 years, prices Friday were just a few pennies short of records in most Bay Area cities.

all-time single-day statewide high was reached in 2008, and “we most likely will exceed those highs,” said Cynthia Harris of AAA. “By how much we don’t know.”

While prices may rise, there may be an end to the pain in sight, as prices for immediate delivery of gas fell Friday.

“It may take a few days for stations to start lowering their prices because they aren’t yet buying the cheaper gasoline,” said analyst Patrick DeHaan of, predicting that some stations may lower pump costs by as much as 35 cents.


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