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Gas prices hit record high in Santa Rosa

  • Natalie Andrews of San Francisco / Healdsburg fills up at Rotten Robbie Saturday Oct. 6, 2012 for regular unleaded gasoline at $4.59 a gallon, beating the average price of $4.62 around Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / PD)

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Santa Rosa hit an all-time high of $4.62 Saturday morning, topping the state average of $4.61 — also a record.

Saturday's price, as measured by AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge survey, jumped almost 11 cents from Friday's $4.51 for a gallon of regular. It was 78 cents higher than a year ago.

At the Chevron station on Bennett Valley Road near the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, James Kotaska, a tourist from Louisiana, filled up his convertible rental car with regular.

“Seems like they always have a reason for why the price is high — a pipeline is down or a refinery is broken,” Kotaska said, adding that back home he buys premium gas for his own car.

“In Louisiana, premium was $3.83 just a few days ago before I flew in,” he said. Premium was $4.81 at the Bennett Valley Road Chevron.

Fuel prices hit record highs across the state, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge, which the organization touts as the nation's most comprehensive survey of retail gasoline prices.

The survey is based on a formula that uses prices for the previous three days to compute the daily average, which is posted at about 3 a.m.

Santa Rosa was among a number of California metropolitan areas where records were set Saturday. Others included the Los Angeles-Long Beach area with $4.66 for a gallon of regular; Oakland with $4.63; Orange County with $4.65; San Diego with $4.67; San Francisco with $4.69 and the San Luis Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles area with $4.71.

The current jump in prices is blamed on refinery problems that have limited gasoline supplies in California.

Last week's surge began Monday after a power 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 by next week.

At the Rotten Robbie gas station on East Todd Road just south of Santa Rosa, a gallon of regular was selling for $4.59 — the same as Friday. T.J. Tellez, the station manager, said Rotten Robbie owner Tom Robinson decided not to raise the price.

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