California Regular Unleaded Gasoline Rises to Record $4.655

The average price of regular unleaded gasoline reached a record $4.655 a gallon in California today, 22 percent more than the national average of $3.814, AAA said on its website.

The highest average price in the state is the San Luis Osbispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles metropolitan area at $4.74, up from $4.709 yesterday and an average of $4.233 a week ago, AAA said. San Francisco was the second-most expensive metro area at $4.731 per gallon for regular gasoline, up from $4.689 yesterday and $4.263 a week ago. Both metro areas set all-time records, the automobile association said.

AAA spokeswoman Marie Montgomery didn’t immediately respond to a voicemail and e-mail sent by Bloomberg News seeking comment.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) are rationing gasoline deliveries to customers in the state as refinery halts cut into the state’s supplies, driving prices to record highs. Valero stopped spot sales in Southern California and is allocating the rest of its deliveries to customers. Exxon is also rationing to buyers at West Coast terminals.

California’s gasoline markets are particularly susceptible when refineries have outages because the state is mostly cut off from the oil-product pipelines spanning the rest of the country, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Gasoline in California also has its own blending requirements to reduce smog and it’s difficult to import from other states.

Inventories of the motor fuel on the West Coast, known as the Padd 5 region, rose 178,000 barrels to 26.6 million in the week ended Sept. 28, an Oct. 3 Energy Department report showed. The gain left stockpiles 6 percent lower than a year earlier.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Shenk in New York at mshenk1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Theo Mullen in New York at tmullen11@bloomberg.net.

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