Gas prices on verge of breaking all-time record


And unfortunately relief is not in sight for the immediate future. In the Bay Area, we've already seen some prices top $5 per gallon and some analysts predict it may top $6 before this current surge is over.

Anger and conspiracy theories abound at local gas pumps, where customers have had their fill of a stunning overnight price increase, "I think I probably should've gotten gas when I stopped last night, but then I thought, 'oh maybe it'll actually go down tomorrow' as it stands, not the case," Walnut Creek resident Craig Pollack said.

When asked if there was a breaking point, Lafayette resident Joseph Azalde said, "When you need gas you need gas, you're stuck."

Severin Borenstein is with the UC Berkeley Energy Institute. He says the Chevron Richmond refinery fire in August is just one of several factors contributing to the high prices, "There have been a number of supply disruptions in the state. There's been an Exxon refinery in Southern California that outage because they had an electrical outage. The Chevron refinery here in Richmond is still having problems. And there's a pipeline that brings crude oil into some of the refineries and it's having problems."

At station in Menlo Park, prices Friday morning topped $5. And apparently the station owner didn't have enough fives, so he flipped over some twos.

If the prices keep shooting up, one driver told ABC7 News the prices may push her right out of her car, "I probably won't be driving and I'll probably be taking BART everywhere," Lafayette resident Mary Sylvester said.

Menlo Park resident Ryan Finney adds, "The gas prices are gonna do what they're gonna do. They go up, they go down. I'm not gonna let it bother me."

If the issue is supply, one thing that could ease the crunch here in California is if the state relaxed its standards and allowed so-called "dirtier" gas to be brought in from out of state. But that's been done just once since 1996 when California instituted its cleaner gasoline standards.

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