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Gas shortages start to plague California

9:46 PM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
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By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

In the nation's densest motoring Mecca, some southern California gas stations are starting to run out of gas. And $5-a-gallon gas could be on the way.

Some gas station owners have stopped making wholesale purchases to fill their underground tanks since the price of gas has shot up in the past few days. Even the Costco discount store chain, which typically has some of the cheapest prices, is starting to run dry. Prices have shot up after Chevron and Mobil refinery supply problems have hit the region.

Regular gas is averaging $4.315 a gallon in California today, up eight cents since yesterday and up 18 cents in the past week, according to AAA. The record price for gas in the Golden State is $4.61 in June, 2008.

The Costco's outlet in Simi Valley, 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles, ran out of regular gasoline yesterday and was selling premium fuel at the price of regular, Bloomberg News reports. Jeff Cole, Costco's vice president of gasoline, said the chain can't find enough unbranded summer-grade gasoline to keep its stations supplied, he said.

An independent station, Low-P in Calabasas, Calif., 30 miles west of Los Angeles, stopped selling unleaded gasoline Tuesday. Now it's out of everything and Bloomberg says owner John Ravi had "Out of Gasoline" signs posted outside.

"I can get gas, but it's going to cost me $4.90 a gallon, and I can't sell it here for $5," Ravi said. "If you come here right now, I've got some diesel left. That's all. My market is open, but no gas."

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