The way gas prices are soaring here you might think it’s been a record jump. Not quite.

California’s average price shot up 25.6 cents a gallon in the past week, from $4.031 to $4.287 on Sunday, according to AAA. But after Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast in 2005,  the California average jumped 29 cents, from $2.77   on Aug. 29, 2005, to $3.06 on Sept. 5, 2005. Percentage-wise, that was a nearly a 10.5 percent hike. Last week’s jump was only 6.35 percent.

Gordon Schremp, a senior analyst with the California Energy Commission, said both increases pale in comparison, percentage-wise, to a nearly 18.5 percent jump in March 1999 after an East Bay refinery caught fire, slashing gas supplies and sending gas from $1.229 on March 22 to $1.456 on March 29.

The latest wallet-sucking increase is blamed on rising tensions with Iran, a fire at a Washington state refinery that’s hurt West Coast supplies and California refineries’ annual switch to making warm-weather gas, which cuts supplies.

But Schremp sees some hope for California drivers. He said there’s been some pressure in the oil market for spot prices to plateau — prices actually dropped Monday –and some California refineries have started back up after completing maintenance, boosting supplies.

For Santa Rosa, the average price for unregular in Santa Rosa was $4.28 on Sunday, a jump of nearly 28 cents in one week and 58 cents in one month, according to AAA. A year ago, the average price was $3.746. The record high is $4.55 on June 19, 2008.

Wyoming had the cheapest gas on average Sunday at $3.124, while Hawaii had the most expensive at $4.315. California’s $4.287 was No. 2.


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