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Calif. Governor takes action as gas prices surge

Now that refiners have been given the go-ahead to process a less expensive fuel blend, the average price of gasoline in California should go down about 15 cents a gallon. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

California Governor Jerry Brown is taking action in an effort to drive down the cost of gasoline as the state’s drivers cope with record-breaking prices at the pump.

For the third straight day Monday, the statewide average price for a gallon of regular rose to an all-time high, hitting $4.668, according to AAA.

That topped Sunday's price of $4.655 and Saturday's price of $4.6140, which broke the previous record high of $4.6096 per gallon set on June 19, 2008.

Brown on Sunday ordered state smog regulators to allow winter-blend gasoline to be sold in California earlier than usual to bring down prices. Winter-blend gas typically isn't sold until after Oct. 31. Few refineries outside the state are currently making summer-blend gas, putting the pressure on already-taxed California manufacturers.

Gary Kazanjian / AP

Luis Cuevas changes the gas prices at the Shell station off California State Route 99 as truckers deal with rising gas prices in Fresno, Calif.

A temporary reduction in supply has meant that in recent days California’s gas prices have surpassed those in Hawaii to become the highest in the nation.

In some locations, fuming motorists paid $5 or more per gallon while station owners had to shut down pumps in others.

A station in Long Beach had California's priciest gas at $6.65 for a gallon of regular, according to GasBuddy.com. Meanwhile customers at an outlet in San Pablo paid just $3.49, the lowest price in the state.

The average for a gallon of regular was $4.69 in Los Angeles, $4.71 in San Diego and San Francisco, $4.55 in Sacramento and $4.90 in Santa Barbara, according to GasBuddy.com.

The average price for a gallon of gas in the United States rose less than half a cent over the past two weeks, masking a decline in most regions and a sharp spike in California prices, according to a widely followed survey.

Gasoline prices averaged $3.8375 on Oct. 5, up from $3.8338 on Sept. 21, Trilby Lundberg, editor of the Lundberg Survey, said on Sunday.

Prices were down about 3 to 12 cents in most markets except the West, she said.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Related: Gas prices cheapest in these Southern states

In California, the average price per gallon of gas climbed 12 cents overnight to $4.61, matching the state record set in June 2008. Meanwhile, prices in other parts of the state are falling – so why are Californians getting hit so hard? NBC's Diana Alvear reports.

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