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Will California gas prices set records this weekend?

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Jonathan Alcorn/Rueters

(Read caption) Traffic moves on Lincoln Boulevard, near a sign posted with gasoline prices at a Mobil gas station in Santa Monica, California October 4, 2012. Pump prices in California soared this week as key Golden State refineries were disrupted at a time of low inventories, putting prices on track to break a record set in the summer of 2008.

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Brace yourself, Californians. Gas prices are going up. Again.

With the Golden State already paying some of the highest gas prices in the nation, California drivers will find it's going to get more costly than ever to fill their tanks.

According to Reuters, oil analyst Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for Oil Price Information Service, expects the state's drivers will briefly see prices higher than the current all-time record of $4.61 a gallon.

Yesterday, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the state was $4.31.

The soaring gas prices are due to a regrettable combination of three events.

First, state refineries have lowered production as they get ready to make the switch to "winter blend" gasoline.

Second, a power outage at a Torrance refinery combined with a partial shutdown at a Richmond refinery to cut production severely.

And third, a crude-oil pipeline to San Francisco Bay Area refineries from the state's Central Valley has been shut for several weeks due to high organic chloride levels in the crude.

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Kloza doesn't expect the record gas-price levels to last for months, but only for weeks, perhaps even a few days.

But it may offer little comfort to Californians that their gasoline costs are still far lower than in other parts of the world.

In the U.K., for example, this week's average price of£1.3883 per liter translates to $8.50 per gallon--higher even than the $8-per-gallon prices seen in London earlier this year.

Over the Labor Day weekend, U.S. gas prices hit an average of $3.80 per gallon.

Prices in California have been above $4 a gallon for many months now.

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