Calif. gas prices jump to nation's highest

LOS ANGELES -- Californians woke up to a shock Friday as overnight gas prices jumped by as much as 20 cents a gallon in some areas, ending a week of soaring costs that saw some stations close and others charge record prices.

The average price of regular gas across the state was nearly $4.49 a gallon, the highest in the nation, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge report.

In Southern California, the price jumped 20 cents a gallon overnight to $4.53 in Ventura. And in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area, prices went up 19 cents to nearly $4.54.

It wasn't any better to the north, as a gallon of regular gas in San Francisco averaged nearly $4.60.

Other gas stations charged more than $5 a gallon. The Low-P station in Calabasas charged $5.69 Thursday. The pumps bore handwritten signs reading, "We are sorry, it is not our fault," according to the Los Angeles Times.

In many areas prices have jumped 40 cents in a week as refinery problems have created shortages and helped send wholesale prices soaring. Some stations ran out of gas and shut down Thursday rather than pay those costs.

While gas prices have spiked nationwide, refinery outages and pipeline problems have added to woes in California.

The national average for gas is about $3.79 a gallon, the highest ever for this time of year.

Hawaii usually has the nation's most expensive gas, but California leapfrogged the Aloha State on Friday. The average price in Hawaii was about 8 cents a gallon less than in California.

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